Colorado Rockies: 4 things we learned while covering spring training
By Kevin Henry
I will admit that I haven’t been as high on Raimel Tapia as other media members have been in the past. I’ve seen the defensive miscues and the free-swinging strike zone too much to feel confident in Tapia’s chances to consistently contribute. However, I do believe that Tapia has improved this offseason and will earn the fourth outfielder spot on the Opening Day roster.
While I was in Scottsdale, Tapia did enough at the plate to show that he can come through in situations where contact needs to be made to bring the runner home or move the runner over. A simple RBI groundout after getting into an 0-2 hole against the San Francisco Giants showed that. Now, those first two strikes were on pitches low and outside the zone (as was the third he barely fouled off) so there’s still work to do. However, Tapia has put on some muscle and seems to have reined himself in a bit at the plate when it comes to missing opportunities at the plate. That’s a very good sign.
I think that he and Hampson can both fill in in the outfield when needed and both have the speed to cover the wide expanses of Coors Field. Both also have the ability to be productive at the plate.
With Ian Desmond and Charlie Blackmon both in their 30s, it’s likely Tapia and Hampson will fill in at times for the veterans when needed. In spring, they have shown that they can do just that.