We had an article written recently that asked a simple question, “Is Raimel Tapia blocked in Denver?” You can read it by clicking here. We asked the question because there is a lot of competition for playing time in the Colorado Rockies outfield. This belief of a potential block has been compounded even more since Tapia was called up to the Rockies again recently.
Since being called up on May 12, Tapia has had two plate appearances. He walked in his only appearance against the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 12 and then went 0-for-1 against the Dodgers on May 14.
Other than that, Tapia has been missing in action for the Rockies. He has yet to get a start while trying to get time in an outfield that includes Charlie Blackmon, Carlos Gonzalez, Gerardo Parra and Ian Desmond.
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It’s a tough lineup to crack, as Tapia is finding out the hard way.
Tapia received two starts during his first call-up in early April and went 0-for-7 at the plate. Combine all of the games from April and May and the 23-year-old left-handed-hitting Tapia is 0-for-8 this season.
Stats tell that story, but there’s also the story of what Tapia was doing before being called up a few days ago. He was hitting .400 through 25 games with Triple-A Albuquerque. He also brings along an element of speed that the Rockies don’t have in their lineup. As of Wednesday, the Rockies were only team in Major League Baseball with less than 10 stolen bases. The Rockies have nine swipes in 40 games.
Tapia, by the way, has eight stolen bases in Triple A this season. Could Tapia give the Rockies an extra element in their offense? It seems so.
"“Tapia, the way he’s playing, gives us the best player from Triple-A,” Rockies manager Bud Black said after Tapia was announced as a call-up. “And the guy has hit. With a four-man bench, he’ll give you a chance to do some things.”"
Yet Tapia hasn’t had the chance to “do some things” during his time in Denver. He’s been passed over on the bench in pinch-hitting situations and appears to be the least attractive option for the Rockies in the outfield. Even when Blackmon got a scheduled day off on May 13, it was Parra who got the start in center field, not Tapia.
When the Rockies opened a series in Minnesota and could use a designated hitter, there was thought that Tapia could appear on the lineup. However, through the first two games, Tapia was not in the starting lineup.
With Trevor Story eligible to return from the disabled list on May 20, it seems that time is running out for Tapia to make an impact. A four-man bench that, during the end of the recent homestand, featured Parra, Alexi Amarista, Colorado’s second catcher (Dustin Garneau or Ryan Hanigan) and Tapia indicates that Tapia may be heading back to Triple-A soon. The question is, how many at-bats will he have before he leaves?