Elijah Tatis Follows Footsteps Of Superstar Brother

Rick Hahn has made some savvy moves as the general manager of the White Sox.

Still, he remains haunted by one trade that gave Chicago’s needed rebuild momentum.

In need of a starting pitcher in June 2016, Hahn acquired James Shields—and $31 million of the $58 million he was still owed—from the Padres for righthander Erik Johnson and a shortstop prospect named Fernando Tatis Jr.

Johnson never panned out with San Diego, but Tatis became a superstar.

Hahn, who jokingly referred to himself as a “jackass” for trading Tatis, launched a rebuild at the end of the 2016 season after accurately determining trading high-end young talent for questionable veterans was not the way to go.

The change in direction did not bring Fernando Tatis Jr. back, but the White Sox are hoping 19-year-old shortstop Elijah Tatis, Fernando’s younger brother, helps ease the sting a bit.

The White Sox signed Elijah for $400,000 from the Dominican Republic in 2019. He struggled in his professional debut that year, hitting .187/.300/.213 over 25 games in the Dominican Summer League.

Tatis has added strength to his 5-foot-11, 155-pound frame and is better prepared to get back on the field after the coronavirus pandemic halted minor league play this season.

“He’s not as tall as his brother, but he’s very athletic,” White Sox special assistant and director of international operations Marco Paddy said of Elijah. “He’s got a chance to be a pretty good player.”

His brother can really play on both sides of the ball, and Elijah’s father Fernando Sr. was a solid two-way player over 11 big league seasons.

Elijah Tatis, who has shown promise defensively at both shortstop and second base, has plenty of room to improve with the bat, and Paddy is confident his strong bloodlines will help make that possible.

“The one thing about him is he repeats,” Paddy said. “When you get a young player who repeats, repeats his swing with no problem and has the ability to handle the bat real well, obviously right away you get excited about it.”


— The White Sox added three prospects to the 40-man roster to exempt them from the Rule 5 draft: third baseman Jake Burger, first baseman Gavin Sheets and righthander Tyler Johnson.

— Chicago claimed righthander Emilio Vargas on waivers from the Diamondbacks. The 24-year-old went 5-3, 3.78 over 17 starts with Double-A Jackson in 2019.

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