- Full name Raimel Antonio Tapia
- Born 02/04/1994 in San Pedro De Macoris, Dominican Republic
- Profile Ht.: 6'3" / Wt.: 175 / Bats: L / Throws: L
- Debut 09/02/2016
Organization Prospect Rankings
Signed for $175,000 in 2010, Tapia has hit at each level in his development. After taking it one level at a time in his first three pro seasons, he moved from Double-A Hartford to Triple-A Albuquerque to a September callup in 2016 and never slowed down. He hit .328 in the minors in 2016 and owns a career .317 average. Tapia is an offensive threat and run-creator who plays with confidence and backs it up. Don't get caught up in the way he crouches in two-strike situations. He does not have that typical rise before he swings in that situation, instead staying low and maintaining the ability to drive the ball into gaps despite the unique approach. It helps him become more focused on the strike zone in those situations. Tapia has the speed and range to play center field--he earns average grades--and his above-average arm will play on an outfield corner. He has realized the importance of defense and has become more focused on his outfield work, such as hitting the cutoff man, during batting practice. Despite his above-average speed, Tapia is an inefficient basestealer. He should force his way to the big leagues to stay in 2017. His athleticism gives the Rockies options with where to play him in the outfield. They would like to see him adjust to center field, where he is working to get better breaks.
Since signing for $175,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2010, Tapia has produced at every level, becoming the Rookie-level Pioneer League MVP in 2013 and finishing third in the batting race at low Class A Asheville the next season. In 2015, the 21-year-old Tapia he led the high Class A California League in hits (166) and ranked among the league leaders in stolen bases (26) and batting (.305). He also hit a career-high 12 home runs at Modesto. Tapia's hitting success stems from his advanced hand-eye coordination, plus bat speed and ability to manipulate the barrel. He brings an aggressive approach to the plate, often expanding the strike zone, but his hands allow him to make consistent contact. Tapia's hitting mechanics are unorthodox, with several moving parts. He bends his knees and goes into a pronounced crouch with two strikes--a practice the Rockies won't alter unless he struggles. Thin and wiry, Tapia's power potential is dependent on how his body fills out. For now, he has gap power. Tapia brings tremendous energy to the field, garnering attention for his makeup and intensity. He has a strong arm, but he's only a slightly above-average runner, and some scouts suggest he might be a better fit for the corners than center field. After an Arizona Fall League stint, Tapia heads to Double-A Hartford in 2016. He needs to tighten his strike zone to fulfill his everyday regular potential.
Tapia signed for $175,000 in 2010 and after two seasons in the Dominican Summer League, he led the Rookie-level Pioneer League in batting (.357) and hits (92) in 2013 and had a 29-game hitting streak. At low Class A Asheville in 2014, he finished third in the South Atlantic League in batting (.326), tied for second in runs (93) and tied for third in hits (157). Tapia has exceptional hand-eye coordination, uses his hands well and has plus bat speed and the ability to manipulate the barrel. He has an upright stance until he gets to two strikes, when he spreads out and squats way down, and consistently generates hard two-strike contact. He can be overly emotional when things aren't going his way on the field, and he can lose focus on defense. In batting practice, Tapia has easy pull-side power, and given his great swing it should start to play as he as he gains strength. He mostly played left field at Asheville until David Dahl moved up to high Class A Modesto and then took over in center field, which he is equipped to play. He is at least an average runner, whose reads and jumps are decent. He has plus arm strength, but his accuracy needs work. Tapia has at least average tools across the board aside from his power, and should play at high Class A Modesto in 2015.
After hitting well at the Rockies' Dominican complex in a workout against Juan Nicasio and Esmil Rogers, Tapia signed with Colorado for $175,000 in November 2010. He played two seasons in the Dominican Summer League before the Rockies pushed him in 2013 by bringing him to minor league camp, and he earned a ticket to the Rookie-level Pioneer League, where he led the league in batting (.357) and hits (92), ranked second in total bases (145) and third in extra-base hits (33). His 29-game hitting streak fell three short of the league record. Tapia has exceptional hand-eye coordination and doesn't strike out often. He keeps his hands back and has a knack for putting his barrel on the ball, even on pitches out of the strike zone, with a short, lefthanded stroke. He has a loose, wiry frame with plenty of room for added strength and should be able to hit 20 home runs a season. An above-average runner, he played all three outfield spots at Grand Junction and could stay in center field, depending on how much he grows. He has enough range to stay up the middle and a plus arm that will play well in right. Tapia will start 2014 at low Class A Asheville, where he will play at age 20.
Minor League Top Prospects
One of the most confident and unorthodox prospects in the minor leagues, Tapia kept producing from Double-A onward this year and earned his first big league callup on Sept. 2. He has a flat barrel path that promotes plenty of contact, and he redoubles his efforts with two strikes by getting into a deep crouch that minimizes most of his usable strike zone. Tapia won't be a big-time power threat, but he has just enough pop to be dangerous. That's especially true for a player who will play half his games at Coors Field. Tapia improved this year as a defender in center field, particularly when it comes to his throwing accuracy. He also improved his jumps and breaks on balls. He projects a leadoff-type batter who can be a pest at the plate and on the bases.
Tapia rarely weathered any slumps at Modesto, hitting .307 in the first half and .304 in the second, to finish sixth in the Cal League batting race (.305). With a bat in his hands, Tapia intends to use it, as his low walk total attests. He has some moving parts in his swing, but he has innate feel for timing and sharp hand-eye coordination. Tapia hits for solid power that was masked somewhat by Modesto's home park, and one manager said he has the ability to barrel up balls even well outside the strike zone. "I think he was one of the most dynamic players in our league," Visalia manager J.R. House said. "The thing that impressed me most is that we had really good lefthanded arms, and he was able to handle all of those guys pretty successfully. That's a huge indication of him being a real live hitter." Tapia split his time between center and left field. He's not a spectacular defender, but he's rangy enough for center and shows a solid throwing arm.
Of the three top Rockies prospects, Tapia was the most divisive for evaluators. Everyone agreed he has loose hands at the plate with excellent hand-eye coordination that should help him hit for average. But the rest of his game drew sharp disagreement. Scouts and managers who like him see some remaining projection that should allow him to develop strength and power. They also see a tick above-average runner who turns in slower home-to-first times than that because of the exaggerated crouch in his batting stance. With that speed, they think he can play center field adequately, even if he made a frightening 15 errors this season. There are scouts and managers who don't see the projection. In their eyes, he's a potential high-average hitter with limited power potential who will likely be limited to playing an outfield corner. Almost no one thinks he'll be able to continue with his current two-strike approach, which can best be described as spreading out and squatting down in an impression of Eddie Gaedel. "You only get away with some of that stuff at lower levels," said one opposing manager. "When pitchers have some feel and command it will be exploited."
Tapia spent two years in the Dominican Summer League before making his U.S. debut at age 19. As evidenced by leading the PL in batting (.357) and ranking third with 33 extra-base hits, his season was a huge success. The lefthanded hitter put together a 29-game hitting streak, three short of the league record. A potential five-tool player, Tapia has a nice, easy swing that begins with an open stance that is a little unorthodox, but it works for him. He has a good idea at the plate and barrels up the ball, and he also has the ability to lay down bunts. Tapia shows surprising pop considering his slender frame, but he?s more of a gap-to-gap hitter now. Observers think he can develop more power as he gets stronger. He makes adjustments at the plate and doesn?t strike out much. Tapia has plus speed, but he needs to improve his instincts after being thrown out in nine of 19 steal attempts this year. He has the range to stay in center field and his plus arm would also allow him to handle right. With continued improvement, Tapia projects to be a starting outfielder with 20-20 upside and a high batting average. Not a bad return on Colorado?s $175,000 investment.
Top 100 Rankings
Background: Signed for $175,000 in 2010, Tapia has hit at each level in his development. After taking it one level at a time in his first three pro seasons, he moved from Double-A Hartford to Triple-A Albuquerque to a September callup in 2016 and never slowed down. He hit .328 in the minors in 2016 and owns a career .317 average. Scouting Report: Tapia is an offensive threat and run-creator who plays with confidence and backs it up. Don't get caught up in the way he crouches in two-strike situations. He does not have that typical rise before he swings in that situation, instead staying low and maintaining the ability to drive the ball into gaps despite the unique approach. Tapia has the speed and range to play center field--he earns average grades--and his above-average arm will play on an outfield corner.
The Future: Despite his above-average speed, Tapia is an inefficient basestealer. He should force his way to the big leagues to stay in 2017. His athleticism gives the Rockies options with where to play him in the outfield. They would like to see him adjust to center field, where he is working to get better breaks.