On Wednesday, Colorado Rockies outfielder Raimel Tapia had a great game. He went 3-for-5 with two doubles, three RBI, and a good defensive play out in the outfield.
If he keeps playing like that, there’s not much reason to move Tapia out of the leadoff spot.
However, there are definitely some alarming stats for Tapia (entering Wednesday). They included:
- Average Exit Velocity (bottom 11 percent)
- xwOBA (bottom 17 percent)
- Barrel % (bottom five percent)
- Chase Rate (bottom six percent)
- Outfielder Jump rate (bottom 45 percent)
- Hard Hit percentage (bottom 10 percent)
- xSLG (bottom 13 percent)
- Walk Rate (bottom 34 percent)
His groundball rate is also the highest in his career (62.6 percent groundball rate) and it has been steadily going up throughout the last three years.
He does have some other areas that show his skills, including some that may surprise you.
- Whiff Percentage (94th percentile)
- Outs Above Average (defense) (81st percentile)
- xBA (59th percentile)
- Strikeout Percentage (90th percentile)
- Sprint Speed (82nd percentile)
Even with Wednesday’s game, Tapia hit just .206/.268/.304 from May 4 through Wednesday (27 games). That’s not exactly what you like to see at the top of the lineup.
From May 4 through Tuesday, Tapia hit just .186/.252/.268.
But here’s the problem for the Rockies:
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Who would leadoff for the Colorado Rockies if Raimel Tapia isn’t there?
The Rockies problem is that their other prototypical leadoff guy had been struggling too. Garrett Hampson was 5-for-43 in his last 15 games entering Wednesday (.116 batting average). Like Tapia, Hampson has hit well in the last two games as he has combined to go 6-for-9 with two doubles, two runs, and an RBI.
If he is able to keep out of his funk at the plate, Hampson could be someone that could lead off for the Rockies.
Yonathan Daza was hitting lower in the lineup but manager Bud Black elevated him to the 2nd spot this week because he has been hitting so well.
In his last 18 games (going back to May 11), he has hit .431/.500/.490. Overall on the season, Daza is hitting .333/.376/.398, which are good numbers for a leadoff guy (gets on base a lot, decent speed, but not a ton of power).
Honestly, he would probably be the choice for the Rockies right now if Tapia is moved out of the leadoff spot.
After a slow start (and slow last three quarters of 2020), Blackmon has been hitting much better lately.
In his last 26 games, he is hitting .313/.394/.458, going 26-for-83. 19 of those 26 hits are for singles so he hasn’t been hitting for a ton of power, which isn’t bad for a leadoff guy.
The problem is that if you move him out of the middle of the lineup, who else do have for the “power” spots in the lineup outside of Ryan McMahon and C.J. Cron?
The Rockies don’t have many guys that could fit into the leadoff role that either have experience there or their player profile fits into that. However, if Tapia keeps hitting like he has in his last two games, the Rockies won’t have to worry about that often.