San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. announced on Friday afternoon he would not partake in Major League Baseball's 2021 Home Run Derby. Hours later, he put on a personal home run derby against the Arizona Diamondbacks to tie for the MLB lead in home runs.
Tatis, who entered Friday ranked third in the majors in home runs (22), delivered Nos. 23, 24, and 25 over the course of the first four innings. To recap (all of these numbers are courtesy of Statcast):
- His first home run, a solo shot in the first inning that put the Padres up 2-0, traveled 111.9 mph off the bat and carried 400 feet.
- Home run No. 2, another solo shot that gave San Diego a 5-3 lead in the second) left the bat at 98.5 mph and had an estimated distance of 373 feet.
- The hat trick was completed on a two-run shot in the fourth: a 415-foot blast that sped away at 109.2 mph. The Padres went up 8-5.
Tatis came into play against the Diamondbacks hitting .281/.365/.657 (186 OPS+) with 15 stolen bases on 17 attempts. According to Baseball Reference's calculations, he'd been worth 3.3 Wins Above Replacement -- that despite appearing in only 58 of the Padres' 77 games.
The reason for Tatis' absence, a shoulder injury that has caused him to be removed from three games dating back to spring training, served as one part of his explanation for foregoing the Home Run Derby. He also cited his desire to compete against Toronto Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who entered the night leading the majors in home runs. Guerrero recently withdrew his name from consideration for this year's edition of the Home Run Derby, noting his desire to reset mentally ahead of the season's second half.
The 2021 Home Run Derby is scheduled for Monday, July 12. It'll take place at Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies.