While Murphy has a pretty clear idea of what his 2017 season with the Rockies will hold, the same can’t be said for Tapia. He’s in the middle of a crowded outfield mix that includes Dahl, Charlie Blackmon, Carlos Gonzalez, Gerardo Parra and Jordan Patterson.
Tapia got some increased playing time for the Rockies in September when Blackmon was out with an injury. He made a splash in his Major League debut, opening his career with a four-game hitting streak, going 7-for-15 in his first four MLB contests. However, he went just 3-for-23 the rest of the season. Strikeouts were a big concern last season with Tapia as he whiffed 11 times in 38 at-bats while walking just twice.
Speed is the biggest asset that Tapia brings to the Rockies. It’s a small sample size, but Tapia went 3-for-3 on steals last season. He also always caused excitement at the plate, knowing a slow roller in the infield could easily turn into a base hit.
Don’t be surprised to see Tapia start 2017 in Triple-A as he continues to improve his work at the plate. He hit .328 between Double-A and Triple-A last season so the skills are there. They just need to translate to the Major League level.
Additionally, there’s a logjam in the outfield. Unless the Rockies trade off an outfielder in the offseason as has been rumored constantly during the winter meetings timeframe, it will be tough for Tapia to find playing time. Even if a trade does happen and an outfielder moves, the Rockies have just signed Ian Desmond (who has plenty of outfield experience) to a big contract. Of course, if another first baseman isn’t signed, Desmond will hold down first base. Still, the Rockies have a plethora of outfielders.
Tapia’s time in Denver will come. It just won’t be at the start of the 2017 season.