Fernando Gabriel Tatis Medina Jr.'s rise to Major League Baseball stardom commenced in San Pedro de Macoris, a southeastern city in the Dominican Republic. Tatis Jr. grew up around MLB clubhouses, as his father, Fernando Tatis, competed in the majors for 11 seasons.
At the age of 16, the Chicago White Sox saw a glimpse of greatness in the international prospect, signing him to a minor league contract in 2015. However, Tatis Jr. never saw any action with the club and was ultimately traded to the San Diego Padres in 2016.
Fernando Tatis Jr. began his professional baseball career in 2016 in Rookie Ball with the AZL Padres in the Arizona League, though he quickly worked through the San Diego Padres farm system. By 2017, Tatis Jr. was promoted to Double-A, where he was considered one of the most hopeful prospects in baseball.
Prior to the 2019 MLB season, the San Diego Padres announced Fernando Tatis Jr. made the Opening Day roster, where El Nino has never looked back. Throughout his three-year Major League Baseball career, Tatis Jr. is a two-time Silver Slugger, nominated as the National League shortstop in the 2021 MLB All-Star Game, and consistently in the National League Most Valuable Player conversation.
Under contract with the San Diego Padres until the 2034 MLB season, Fernando Tatis Jr. envisions capturing a World Series or two with the franchise. As arguably the most thrilling player in the majors, the worth and desire of his rookie cards remains at an astronomical level. Without further ado, the following 10 cards are the best and most highly sought-after Fernando Tatis Jr. rookie cards.
2019 Topps Update Fernando Tatis Jr. 1984 Topps Baseball Chrome Refractor Gold RC #T84U-34 #'d/50
Recent sale: $1,800
Fernando Tatis Jr.'s 10th best rookie card surfaced from the 2019 Topps Update Series, released on October 16, 2019. Topps distributed the set in hobby boxes, offering 24 packs of 14 cards, and jumbo hobby boxes, allocated in 10 packs of 46 cards. Tatis Jr.'s most coveted rookie card from the set is his Gold Chrome Refractor, featured in the 1984 Topps 35th Anniversary promo, discovered in the set's highly desirable Silver Pack. Tatis' Gold Chrome Refractor rookie card is serial-numbered to 50 copies, yet only 17 cards have surfaced. Graded a PSA 10, this copy of Tatis Jr.'s Gold Chrome Refractor rookie card is the finest example in existence, along with just seven other cards.
Considered the 27th most promising international prospect on Major League Baseball's Top 30 International Prospects List in the class of 2015, the Chicago White Sox signed Fernando Tatis Jr. on July 2, 2015, for $825,000. Tatis was ultimately traded to the San Diego Padres on June 4, 2016, along with former MLB RHP Erik Johnson for the long-time Tampa Bay Rays RHP James Shields and cash considerations.
Fernando Tatis, who spent 11-years in the majors with the Texas Rangers, then-Montreal Expos, St. Louis Cardinals, Baltimore Orioles, and New York Mets, played a significant role in his son, Tatis Jr., being ranked as one of the brightest prospects in baseball, where his Gold Chrome Refractor is one of his most valuable rookie cards.
2019 Bowman Sterling Fernando Tatis Jr. Gold RC #BSR-73 #'d/50
Recent sale: $2,000
Bowman's 2019 edition of Sterling Baseball offers collectors a 100-card checklist featuring 50 rookies and 50 prospects, containing five packs of six cards, each pack bearing an autograph. Fernando Tatis Jr.'s most reputable rookie card from the set is none other than his Gold Refractor, limited to only 50 copies. Tatis Jr's. Gold Refractor rookie card is one of his most condition-sensitive cards on the list, as just 12 of 28 cards merited a PSA or BGS 10.
In 2016, the San Diego Padres assigned Tatis Jr. to the AZL Padres of the Arizona League. Across 43 games with the AZL Padres, Tatis blasted four home runs, 20 RBIs, 13 doubles, one triple, swiped 14 bases, and registered a .273/.312/.426 slash line. Displaying the Padres his promise, the club then assigned Tatis Jr. to Single-A to compete with the Tri-City Dust Devils of the Northwest League. Through 12 games, Tatis Jr. recorded a respectable .273 batting average and tallied four doubles, two triples, and five RBIs.
At just 17 years old, Tatis Jr. made a splash in the San Diego Padres farm system. Considering Fernando Tatis Jr.'s 2019 Bowman Sterling rookie card is serial-numbered to just 50 copies and holds one of the most condition-sensitive cards on the list, the value of his Gold Refractor rookie card continues to fetch four figures.
2019 Bowman Fernando Tatis Jr. Chrome Prospects Mojo Refractors Purple RC #BCP-25 #'d/250
Recent sale: $2,125
On April 17, 2019, baseball card hobbyists raved about the 2019 Bowman Baseball set, which marked the 30th anniversary of the brand's revival back in 1989. Distributed in 24 packs of 10 cards, 2019 Bowman is home to the most promising baseball prospects and rookies, with Fernando Tatis Jr.'s Chrome Prospects Mojo Refractors Purple rookie card leading the way. Tatis Jr.'s Purple Refractor rookie card holds stunning eye appeal and has a total print run of 250. Since the release of 2019 Bowman Baseball, just 47 of Tatis Jr.'s Purple Refractor rookie cards have been graded across PSA and BGS, with 29 copies warranting a PSA or BGS 10.
Tatis Jr. began the 2017 season in Single-A with the Fort Wayne TinCaps of the Midwest League. Through 117 games, Fernando Tatis Jr. tallied 21 home runs, 69 RBIs, and an astounding .281/.390/.520 slash line. Tatis Jr. also totaled 26 doubles, seven triples, and swiped 29 bases for the TinCaps. The Padres then assigned Tatis to Double-A with the San Antonio Missions in the Texas League. Through just 14 games with the Missions, Tatis recorded 14 hits, amassing one home run, six RBIs, three stolen bases, and a .255 batting average.
Tatis Jr. continued his path through the San Diego Padres minor league system in 2017 as one of the club's finest prospects. As such, the price of Fernando Tatis Jr.'s Purple Refractor rookie card continues to soar.
2019 Topps Fernando Tatis Jr. Chrome Rookie Image Variation Bonus Gold Refractors RC #410 #'d/50
Recent sale: $3,800
Fernando Tatis Jr.'s next top rookie card materialized from the 2019 Topps Baseball Complete Factory Set, containing all 350 cards from both Series 1 and Series 2. Issued on July 3, 2019, hobbyists continue to chase Tatis Jr.'s Chrome Rookie Image Variation Gold Refractor, limited to 50 copies. While no cards have yet to be graded by Becket, Tatis Jr.'s Gold Refractor rookie card has a total PSA population of 37, 24 of which merited a PSA 10, this card included.
The next stop for Tatis Jr. on his path to MLB stardom was with the Estrellas de Oriente of the Dominican Winter League. At 18 years old, Tatis Jr. was the youngest player on the team, with the next youngest player being 22. Throughout 17 games, Tatis Jr. compiled one home run, three RBIs, three doubles, one triple, seven runs scored, and a .246/.358/.386 slash line. He also walked more times than he struck out, tallying nine walks to just eight strikeouts.
The San Diego Padres' top prospect continued to turn heads in the minor league system, impressing the clubs' front office along the way, boosting the value of Fernando Tatis Jr.'s Gold Refractor rookie card from the 2019 Topps Baseball Complete Factory Set.
2019 Topps Triple Threads Fernando Tatis Jr. Rookie Autographs Emerald RC #RAU-FT #'d/50
Recent sale: $4,200
Comprised of two packs of seven cards, collectors can expect one autographed triple relic card serial-numbered to 99 or less, a triple relic card serial-numbered to 36 or less, an autographed rookie card or autographed jumbo relic card serial-numbered to 99 or less, and a jumbo relic card serial-numbered to 36 or less in each 2019 Topps Triple Threads hobby box. One of the most alluring Fernando Tatis Jr. rookie cards from the set is his Rookie Autographed Emerald parallel card, limited to 50 copies. Of the 17 copies graded by PSA, nine warranted a PSA 10, with the sale of this particular copy included. In contrast, three of Tatis Jr.'s Rookie Autographed Emerald parallel cards have been graded by Beckett, all of which earned a BGS 9.5.
Heading into the 2018 season, Fernando Tatis Jr. was the 9th ranked prospect by Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus and the 8th ranked prospect by Major League Baseball. Tatis Jr. spent the entire 2018 season with the San Antonio Missions, excelling in all facets of the game. Across 88 games, Tatis Jr. blasted 16 home runs and drove in 43 runs. He also scored 77 runs, tallied 22 doubles and four triples, stole 16 bases, and finished with a sublime .286/.355/.507 slash line.
As a result, the San Diego Padres shortstop earned a spot on the World Team in the 20th annual Futures Game. Tatis Jr. was nearing his call-up to The Show at this point in his baseball career. Tatis Jr.'s Rookie Autographed Emerald parallel card from the highly desirable 2019 Topps Triple Threads would be a focal point of any baseball card collection.
2019 Topps Heritage Fernando Tatis Jr. Chrome Black Refractor RC #THC-517 #'d/69
Recent sale: $4,800
Paying tribute to 1970 Topps, 2019 Topps Heritage Baseball showcases a 500-card set, released on February 27, 2018. Fernando Tatis Jr.'s most sought-after rookie card is his Chrome Black Refractor rookie card, appearing in the Topps Heritage Chrome checklist. Tatis Jr.'s Chrome Black Refractor rookie card has been graded 26 times by PSA, with 23 cards earning a PSA 10 and only two times by Beckett, featuring one card warranting a BGS 10.
In the 2018-19 season, Tatis Jr. competed once again for the Estrellas de Oriente in the Dominican Winter League. Across 23 games, Tatis Jr. recorded three home runs, eight RBIs, and a respectable 263/.379/.488 slash line. Tatis Jr. guided the Estrellas de Oriente to a 29-21 record to finish 1st in the Dominican Winter League, behind seven doubles, one
triple, and seven stolen bases. The 19-year-old budding phenom also excelled in the field for the club, tallying 41 putouts, 60 assists, and 14 double plays turned while only committing five errors, recording a .953 fielding percentage.
As the number one overall San Diego Padres prospect persisted in exceeding expectations, Fernando Tatis Jr.'s Chrome Black Refractor rookie card from the 2019 Topps Heritage Baseball set has skyrocketed in price.
2019 Topps Chrome Fernando Tatis Jr. Prism Refractor RC #203
Recent sale: $4,995
Baseball card enthusiasts jumped at the opportunity to collect Fernando Tatis Jr.'s rookie cards from 2019 Topps Chrome Baseball, released on July 31, 2019, in hobby and hobby jumbo boxes. Hobbyists can anticipate 24 packs of four cards in hobby boxes and 12 packs of 13 cards in hobby jumbo boxes. The most coveted Tatis Jr. rookie card from 2019 Topps Chrome is hands down his Prism Refractor on-card autographed rookie card. Not only did Tatis Jr. sign the card, but he also inscribed "El Nino," which is the phenom's nickname. Tatis Jr.'s 2019 Topps Chrome Prism Refractor is easily his most widespread rookie card on the list, with a whopping 1,123 cards graded by PSA and an additional 128 in Beckett's population report. However, it's his second most condition-sensitive rookie card on the list, with 41% deserving of a PSA or BGS 10.
On March 28, 2019, the San Diego Padres Opening Day lineup featured Fernando Tatis Jr. as the franchise's shortstop, finally making his highly anticipated Major League Baseball debut. Through 84 games, Tatis Jr. slugged 22 home runs and 53 RBIs while posting an improbable .317/.379/.590 slash line. For good measure, he added 13 doubles, six triples, and 16 stolen bases.
Unfortunately for Tatis Jr. and baseball fans everywhere, his rookie year was abruptly cut short due to a back injury. Still, Tatis Jr. finished third in the National League Rookie of the Year voting. Despite carrying a lofty population, Fernando Tatis Jr.'s 2019 Topps Chrome Prism Refractor card is graded a PSA 10 for condition and his blue penned autograph, cementing this copy as one of his best rookie cards in existence.
2019 Topps Chrome Update Fernando Tatis Jr. Rookie Debut Autograph RC #RDA-FT
Recent sale: $6,000
Distributed on October 1, 2019, the 2019 Topps Chrome Update Series is a Target exclusive product, offering baseball card hobbyists seven packs of four cards in each Mega Box. Fernando Tatis Jr.'s third most valuable rookie card appears in the set's Autographs checklist, dubbed a Rookie Autograph Refractor. Although not serial-numbered, Tatis Jr.'s Rookie Autograph Refractor emphasizes one of his most condition-sensitive cards and is the only card on the list graded by Beckett.
In the pandemic-shortened 2020 Major League Baseball season, Tatis Jr. led the San Diego Padres to a 37-23 record, good for 2nd in the National League West. The Padres defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Wild Card Series, though they succumbed to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Division Series. While the Padres didn't make as deep of a postseason run as intended, Tatis Jr. excelled in his sophomore campaign. Across 59 games, Tatis Jr. amassed 17 home runs, 45 RBIs, and garnered a .277/.366/.571 slash line. What's more, Tatis Jr. also tacked on 11 doubles, two triples, and 11 stolen bases.
Tatis Jr. received the 4th most votes for the National League Most Valuable Player for his stellar performance throughout the 2020 MLB season. As one of the most challenging Tatis Jr. rookie cards to discover in lofty condition, his Rookie Autograph Refractor card from the 2019 Topps Chrome Update Series is cemented as one of the superstar's most worthy rookie cards.
2019 Topps NSCC Bowman Chrome National Convention Fernando Tatis Jr. Red Refractor RC #BNR-FTJ #'d/5
Recent sale: $7,600
The 2019 Topps NSCC Bowman Chrome National Convention set was allocated on July 31, 2019, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center during the 40th annual National Sports Collectors Convention. The set is synonymous with the 2019 Bowman Chrome design, though it's inscribed with the text of the National Sports Collectors Convention and offers a visionary backdrop on each card. Fernando Tatis Jr.'s second most valuable rookie card emerged from the Topps 2019 NSCC Wrapper Redemption Refractor checklist, dubbed a Red Refractor, limited to just five copies. Graded a PSA 9 and featuring only three cards that surfaced, this is by far Tatis Jr.'s most scarce card on the list.
The San Diego Padres considered Fernando Tatis Jr. the face of the franchise and someone they hoped to remain with the club for years to come. As such, the Padres and Tatis Jr. inked an unprecedented 14-year, $340 million contract, one of the most lucrative contracts in sports history. Tatis Jr. proved he was worth every penny in the 2021 MLB season, clubbing 42 home runs and 97 RBIs through 130 games. Tatis Jr. added 99 runs scored, 31 doubles, and 25 stolen bases, in addition to a career-best .282/.365/.611 slash line.
Fernando Tatis Jr. finished third for the National League Most Valuable Player Award, though he would have been a shoo-in if he hadn't succumbed to injury and missed 32 games. Nevertheless, Tatis Jr.'s Red Refractor rookie card from the 2019 Topps NSCC Bowman Chrome National Convention set remains one of his most sought-after rookie cards.
2019 Topps Chrome Sapphire Edition Fernando Tatis Jr. Rookie Autographs Green RC #CSA-FTJ #'d/50
Recent sale: $12,667
The most coveted Fernando Tatis Jr. rookie card arises from the online exclusive 2019 Topps Chrome Sapphire Edition. Released on September 25, 2019, configured in four packs of eight cards, hobbyists continue to pursue Tatis Jr.'s Green Rookie Autographs rookie card, serial-numbered to 50 copies. To date, only 25 copies have surfaced, 15 of which warranted a PSA or BGS 10. Fernando Tatis Jr.'s Green Rookie Autographs rookie card is the only card on the list to surpass five figures.
The San Diego Padres were hopeful for success in the 2022 Major League Baseball season with Fernando Tatis Jr. at the helm. However, when the season kicked off on Thursday, April 7, Fernando Tatis Jr. wasn't suited up, as the phenom has been rehabbing a wrist injury he suffered during a motorcycle accident during the offseason. Fortunately, Tatis Jr.'s rehab is going accordingly, as he's begun light baseball activities, and the club expects him to start swinging a bat in the next three weeks and take the field for the Friars sometime in June for a mid-season return.
Fernando Tatis Jr. is arguably the most electric player in the MLB, and his absence is undoubtedly missed not just from the Padres clubhouse but also in the baseball landscape. On a similar note, the value of Tatis Jr.'s Green Rookie Autographs from the 2019 Topps Chrome Sapphire Edition, his most valuable card on the list, can reach unprecedented values if he can remain in the Padres lineup.
The Rise of El Nino
If it wasn't already apparent, Fernando Tatis Jr. is the epitome of a generational talent that baseball fans have longed for. Although he needs to remain healthy, he has the skillset to set record-breaking numbers and hang up his cleats as one of the greatest players to play the game, directly impacting the innate value of Fernando Tatis Jr.'s rookie cards.