With Tuesday's loss in the books, the Colorado Rockies are now the
proud owners of the worst record in all of baseball. With all the bad baseball at the Major League level, the single-A Asheville Tourists are cruising, and one of that level's most exciting players will get the Prospect Watch. Outfielder Raimel Tapia gets the treatment today.
A twenty year-old Dominican, Tapia is already quite accomplished in his young minor league career. In his first season in the United States last year, he hit .357 with 7 HR and 47 RBI in 66 games on his way to taking home the Pioneer League batting title. His bat is still hot this year, hitting .333 with 8 HR and 66 RBI and 29 stolen bases. Tapia will move quickly through the ranks if those numbers persist.
Tapia is a lanky 6'2" player who can play any of the three outfield positions. He profiles best as a center fielder with his speed, but with 13 outfield errors already this season, he needs to improve or make the move to left. His arm may not be the most accurate, but it does possess plenty of oomph, making right a possibility as well. If you didn't already guess, versatility is a strong point.
The word that immediately comes to mind with Raimel Tapia is smooth. His baserunning, ball tracking and especially his swing are all incredibly smooth. .333 might not be fair to project at the Major League level, but with his lovely left-handed swing and knack for making solid contact, it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect him to be a .300 hitter.
Tapia should fill out a bit more as he matures, as should his ability to read pitchers. Both of those bode well for his ability to steal bases, which could be his best weapon as he moves through the minors and up into the majors. Expect him to get to the majors, too, as MLB.com has him ranked as the 95th best prospect in baseball, while Baseball Prospectus has him at 97.
In three or four years, the Rockies could have one of the most athletic and offensively gifted outfields in the majors. Corey Dickerson will still be under 30, and the potential of David Dahl and Raimel Tapia are off the charts.
Things look bleak now in the Rocky Mountains, but they look awfully bright in the future. Especially if Daz Cameron gets added to the outfield mix after next June's draft.
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