Las Vegas, Nevada —— At the top of this post, watch our scouting video of Colorado Rockies outfield prospect Raimel Tapia, taken from a late April 2017 series for the Albuquerque Isotopes against the host Las Vegas 51s at Cashman Field in Vegas.
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Raimel Tapia scouting report notes
Everything you’ve heard about Raimel Tapia is true: he barrels almost every ball he swings at, he’s got an extremely pronounced crouch with two strikes, and he’s athletic and alive at the plate—a tough out for an opposing pitcher hoping to keep from letting his speed loose down to first base. The outfielder is red-hot right now for the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes, slashing .405/.436/.595/1.030 through his first 111 at-bats in the Pacific Coast League this year. In his last ten games alone entering Thursday night, Tapia has 21 hits, six stolen bases, and just six strikeouts in 48 at-bats.
His hand-eye coordination is phenomenal and his contact skills are (obviously) well above-average. You can see it in his stats—he’s hit better than .300 at every minor league stop after coming stateside—but it’s even more a wonder to watch him get in the hitting position in person. He’s extremely spread out at the plate, which will sap some power from his stroke, but it allows him to stay balanced, stay on off-speed pitches, and make late decisions whether or not to swing. To boot, his bat plane is great: the barrel is in the zone a long time, and that alone is a good sign for a guy trying to hit for average who ought to also develop some decent line drive, gap-to-gap power over his career.
I’m not bullish on Tapia ever hitting for much significant over-the-fence power, though. His wide stance and pronounced crouch—even before he gets two strikes—leave him a little too spread out to maximize momentum and lift for raw power. Especially playing at Coors Field‘s vast expanse, he’ll be hard-pressed to put up big home run totals as have been projected by some others. That said, he has above-average speed and he runs hard out of the box, so if he peppers the gaps with line drives, he’s going to hit a ton of doubles and hustle triples along the way.
He’s a better defender than he’s gotten credit for of late; yes, his speed and arm strength have been noted but scouts have been down somewhat on his range and ability to read balls off the bat. Seeing a full series of his in Las Vegas two weeks ago, he looked good judging the ball’s trajectory after contact, and made good reads both in and back on balls, especially considering the series was played during a pretty significant wind storm, even by Cashman Field’s standards. He may be better suited long-term for left field than center or right, especially in context of the other outfielders the Colorado Rockies have, but he can easily play all three positions as needed.
Long term, Tapia reminds me of Juan Pierre, but with better tools. Both are fast, both hit for average, both have a knack for getting the barrel on the ball, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Tapia’s best-case outcome grew him into a Juan Pierre-type of player. Of course, Tapia will have significantly more power and a much better arm in the outfield, but their left-handed barrel-to-ball and plus-speed skills parallel well, as should their lineup roles when Tapia establishes himself.
Either way, Raimel Tapia should become a successful, long-time leadoff hitter in the big leagues. At 23 years old and tearing up the Pacific Coast League, the Colorado Rockies are going to give him a shot to do that sooner rather than later.
To visit Raimel Tapia’s player page, please click here.
Raimel Tapia scouting report: 140 characters or less
Raimel Tapia hits line drives. Period.
Raimel Tapia scouting report video
Here’s a look at our most recent Raimel Tapia baseball video, taken during a late April series for the ‘Topes in Las Vegas against the New York Mets’ Triple-A affiliate Las Vegas 51s:
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Raimel Tapia scouting report GIFs
In addition to our video clips, we broke out some Raimel Tapia baseball GIFs for a deeper look at his unique swing mechanics and ability to barrel up the ball for line drives in virtually every at-bat.
Watch these and drool:
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In this Colorado Rockies / Raimel Tapia baseball scouting report: