Fernando Tatis, Jr. had been one of baseball’s top minor league prospects for three years and didn’t disappoint when he reached the major leagues in 2019. Tatis, Jr. launched 22 dingers and hit .317 as a 21-year-old rookie during an abbreviated stint with San Diego. That’s just one reason collectors excited about the future of Fernando Tatis, Jr. rookie cards.
The much heralded shortstop prospect is the namesake son of a former MLB player. The elder Tatis didn’t exactly set the world on fire with his 113 career home runs during his 11 seasons with five clubs in the big leagues. Tatis, Sr., however, was well respected for his work ethic and defensive abilities.
If not for an injury late in the year, Tatis, Jr. may have been National League Rookie of the Year. Instead, that honor went to Mets slugger Pete Alonso. Veterans still agree he has generational talent. Baseball analyst Peter Gammons offered high praise, saying “he’s the most exciting young player I’ve seen since Ken Griffey Jr.”
“He’s a beast,” says teammate Manny Machado. “He reminds me of myself when I was 19 years old and got called up. He can do it all.”
Tatis, Jr. was signed as an international free agent by the Chicago White Sox at just 17 years old but was traded to San Diego before he played a single game. After two and a half seasons of minor league and winter league baseball, he was ready for the majors.
Fernando Tatis, Jr. Prospect and Rookie Cards
As with most players today, there are a wide variety of options for collecting Fernando Tatis Jr. You can go for the gusto with more expensive autographed prospect parallels but you can also find some pretty reasonable options if you just want to grab something to hang onto long term.
His first prospect cards appeared in Panini’s 2015 Elite Extra Edition, just after he was signed by the White Sox, with both signed and unsigned cards in the product. There are numerous serial-numbered parallels that will be a little more pricey.
Tatis made his MLB-licensed cardboard debut in 2016 Bowman Chrome. Like many of today’s players, the most valuable cards of any kind are the autographed versions, especially the serial-numbered Refractor parallels. A 2016 Bowman Chrome Prospects Red Refractor Autograph (#3 of 5) rated BGS 9.5/10 sold for about as much money as the San Diego Padres young star made on the field in 2020. The BGS 9.5/10 example of one of his most desirable prospect cards found a new home for $217,000 at auction.
The Orange Refractors numbered to 25 and Gold versions numbered to 50 are among the high-end prospect cards that do come on the market fairly regularly.
There’s also a Bowman Chrome International Ink card that shows him wearing a Bowman cap and a Sox jersey. Autographed versions numbered to 99 were also in 2016 Bowman Chrome as a redemption card.
His rookie cards arrived in 2019 products and there is no shortage to choose from. Which is the best Fernando Tatis Jr. rookie card is really a matter of personal choice. He has autographs in numerous sets with a dizzying number of parallels, both signed and unsigned. Among the top sellers so far: The 1/1 Topps Heritage Superfractor sold on eBay for $12,247 while the Topps Chrome Retro Autographed Superfractor reached $10,000.
Most Tatis Jr. rookie cards from 2019 are readily available, such as his standard Topps rookie card that appeared in Series 2 and base cards from other sets.
You can see all of his rookie cards currently listed on eBay here, but check out the live list of the most watched Tatis Jr. rookie cards up for auction on eBay below to get an idea of his most popular cards.