Colorado Rockies: 2 areas where Raimel Tapia can make improvements

Apr 27, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Colorado Rockies left fielder Raimel Tapia takes his turn at bat against the San Francisco Giants during the fifth inning at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 27, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Colorado Rockies left fielder Raimel Tapia takes his turn at bat against the San Francisco Giants during the fifth inning at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports /
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Apr 17, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rockies left fielder Raimel Tapia (15) hits a solo home run in the fifth inning against the New York Mets at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 17, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rockies left fielder Raimel Tapia (15) hits a solo home run in the fifth inning against the New York Mets at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

Heading into Sunday’s road finale, Tapia had just seven strikeouts through 80 plate appearances prior to this road trip. In games in San Francisco and Arizona, Tapia registered five strikeouts through 21 plate appearances. It’s a small bump up in strikeouts at the plate, and it could be as a result of trying to generate power behind his swing.

Through Colorado’s first 26 games, Tapia logged three homers. That includes a walkoff homer on April 23 at Coors Field against the Philadelphia Phillies.

While the long ball may get the highlights, Black also cautioned that swinging for the fences is when Tapia’s swing gets out of whack.

"“Every now and then you’ll see the swing get a little hard and a little big and a little long,” Black said. “That’s where you’ll see the ground ball to second trying to pull an outside pitch with a bigger swing. If he stays with that approach of staying in the middle of the diamond thought process and then hit the ball where it’s pitched, I think you’re going to see a lot of hits. And I do think the homer will show up.”"

But just because the home run will show up doesn’t mean Tapia should make it a regular part of his game, Black said.

"“He shouldn’t ever try to hit homers because that’s when the swing gets big and the swing gets long,” Black offered."

Tapia’s chase rate heading into Sunday was among the bottom 15 percent of those in the league, per BaseballSavant.com. His barrel rate was even lower, among the bottom 11 percent. Barrels have never been a big part of his game (he’s had just 20 in 728 batted balls) so trying to put power behind the swing will often result in less-than-desirable results.

For Tapia to be successful, sticking with the approach of solid contact and flares while keeping his swing within its own limitations is his best bet for success.

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