We are only two games into the Spring Training schedule but, thus far, Colorado Rockies outfielder Raimel Tapia has played very well out of the leadoff spot so, if it continues, will it be an omen of what the regular season could hold?
In two games in Spring Training, Raimel Tapia has led off and played center field for the Rockies in both games. As you probably well know, the Rockies usually have Charlie Blackmon in the lead off spot and playing center field.
However, in just starting spring training games, they have not started Blackmon yet but Tapia has done very well in the leadoff spot. He is 2-for-6 with 2 RBI and a home run.
So, that leads to our speculation: could Raimel Tapia lead off for the Rockies in 2018?
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The answer is that he absolutely could, and might. Charlie Blackmon has said that he doesn’t mind leading off, as we discussed in this article from a month ago. In fact, he said, “It seems like it could be a good idea. I’m comfortable leading off, and it has been working. But it may not be the best lineup construction” (h/t Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post).
As our own Kevin Henry reported in this article and Thomas Harding of MLB.com reported in this article, Rockies manager Bud Black has also said that he will try Blackmon out in the third hole in the spring to see how he plays there.
If he does well there and Tapia has continued success, it will be an awfully good problem for Bud Black to figure out.
I wouldn’t be surprised, if Tapia has success in the leadoff spot, if he were to leadoff and play left field (or right field, depending on the health of Gerardo Parra and his hand surgery) and Blackmon hitting third in the lineup.
Overall, I think that if the Rockies were to make that change, their lineup would look much more like a traditional lineup.
It would also lengthen the lineup and make it that much stronger but either way, if Tapia keeps doing well, Bud Black will have some tough decision to make in the near future.