Raimel Tapia may be known much more for his offensive abilities and “mucho swagger” at the plate, but he reminded Colorado Rockies fans on Saturday night about his athleticism in the field as well.
In the top of the sixth inning, with Miami’s Lewis Brinson at the plate and German Marquez on the mound for the Colorado Rockies, the Miami outfielder blasted the at-bat’s first pitch from Marquez to straightaway center field. It looked like it was going to sail over the fence … until Raimel Tapia timed his leap perfectly.
Tapia extended his glove over the wall and pulled the ball back, all of the time making sure to do it with some swagger at the end.
Watch the play below…
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Tapia entered Saturday night’s game ranked 32nd in Major League Baseball with 3 Outs Above Average (OAA), a measurement tool on BaseballSavant.com to measure an outfielder’s defensive effectiveness based on ranking players’ successes at catching balls classified by catch difficulty. That’s the highest on the Rockies, by the way. David Dahl comes in second at 2 while Ian Desmond is at negative-7 and Charlie Blackmon is at negative-8.
While Tapia rates highest in OAA among the Rockies, it’s still very apparent that there is much defensive work needed by the 25-year-old native of the Dominican Republic. Cutoff throws are still missed and routes to get fly balls are still a bit spotty. However, for one defensive sequence that drew a standing ovation from the Coors Field faithful, all of that was in the background.
Was it the catch of the year? Desmond started the season against Miami with a solid catch of his own. Oh, and it also came off the bat of Brinson.
So was Tapia’s grab the catch of the year for the Rockies? Tapia said postgame it was certainly the best of his young playing career.
"“It was definitely the best one,” Tapia said through an interpreter. “I’ve had a couple in the minor leagues but I feel like, with the competition up here, that was the best one.”"
Ryan McMahon gave Tapia’s catch high marks.
"“Oh my God, it was amazing,” McMahon said. “You know how you see people rob homers? They get to the wall and then they jump. You remember Desi’s in Miami? Like how it was all in one motion? It was exactly like that. So cool. It looks so much cooler when he’s sprinting to the wall and jumping at the same time. I was so excited. I was stoked.”"
And the fact they were both against Brinson?
“They were? Really?” a surprised RyMac asked when he was told that. “Wow.”
“Wow” seemed to be the phrase of the night for what could be the catch of the year.