A new HR king declines possible crown, for now

Fernando Tatís Jr. teases everyone with 3 home runs, but won’t compete in Derby out of caution

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Knock. Three times.
Knock. Three times.
Image: Getty Images

Is this like when LeBron James opted out of the dunk contest early on in his career? Maybe.

Except James never did it. Fernando Tatís Jr., for now, appears open to it.

Some are led to believe the Home Run Derby messes up your swing, which has been an ongoing theory for countless years. Tatís Jr. believes it enough to ultimately reject participation in said derby during the All-Star Break next month, which he said to the media yesterday prior to an 11-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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An ESPN story wrote the following:

“(Tatís Jr.) told reporters before the game that he would be skipping the Home Run Derby on July 12 largely because he didn’t want to risk further injury to his tender left shoulder, which has continually given him problems since spring training. (Tatís Jr.), who estimated that the shoulder is at 75%, suffered a subluxation in early April and exited a game last Saturday after a diving attempt caused some soreness in the area.”

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Tatís Jr. himself added that age was also a reason for his decision.

“I’m 22,” he added. “I feel like there’s going to be more chances for me to go to the Home Run Derby. When I go over there, I want to put on a pretty good show.”

Still, Tatís Jr. went out there for the actual game and teasedd us for three homers in four innings, including one to opposite field. He’s already, at 22, getting “MVP” chants.

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Even after missing games between April 6 and April 15, and again from May 10 through May 18, he still leads the majors with 25 home runs, tied with fellow phenom Vladimir Guerrero Jr. His 54 RBI’s and 1.076 OPS also lead the National League. He doesn’t need to do it. But it will possibly be a memorable show whenever Tatís Jr. is ready. Baseball sure as hell could use it, but Tatís Jr.’s first responsibility is his health, as it should be. We can try again next year.