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I wrote an entire article about Raimel Tapia needing to be the leadoff man. I still don’t think that does him justice. Last season, he had plenty of at-bats and did okay for a guy still trying to break into a MLB club. In 160 at-bats he had 46 hits, 2 home runs, 16 RBI, and 5 stolen bases. Now, those are the perfect stats for a guy going into his second year. It’s progress from his 2016 season where he only had 38 at-bats. Looking at those side by side, I’d say that Bud Black sees a lot of potential in him to give him that many opportunities.
Spring Training-wise, he’s doing alright, but Bud Black doesn’t pay attention to stats. He’s looking for game awareness, situation handling, and to see how players tweak things in their game. Not only is Tapia in the lineup, he’s had some chances leading off.
This Spring has been alright for Tapia he’s got a .259/.290/.380 slashline along with 15 hits and 7 RBI. He’s a little on the low side when it comes to stolen bases thus far as he has three. Looking at his projections for next season, I’d say they are underestimating Tapia’s ability. This will be good for him, though, so that he can surpass those expectations.
Don’t forget: he’s got speed and speed kills. Raimel Tapia is on the up and up and the best way for him to show everyone who he really is, is to have him in that leadoff spot.