Raimel Tapia is thus far proving to be the superstar of spring training. He’s bulked up, hit well, and turned some heads as the potential leadoff hitter for the Rockies. The outfield has been a bit of a question during the offseason, and Tapia is proving that he might be the answer. Charlie Blackmon is solidly in his spot in center field, but he might move down in the batting order to best utilize his power. Tapia’s speed and new bulkiness has him looking like a great option for the leadoff spot. He’s also putting on a strong performance in the competition for an outfield spot with Ian Desmond, Gerardo Parra, and David Dahl. The 24-year-old is showing that he has what it takes to earn a spot on the opening roster.
Tapia introduced himself in a pretty impressive way last year, coming up from the minors to do some good things when the Rockies needed him. However, the lithe young man was told that what he needed was more strength. He listened, putting on fifteen pounds this offseason. Tapia is looking like a good leadoff fit. Moving the powerful Blackmon to hit third would allow him to knock in some more RBIs, and Tapia’s speed would significantly help. The Rockies don’t necessarily need Tapia for power; they just need him to get on base, which he is certainly able to do.
The Rockies have gone two and four in February spring training. They’re tinkering with the batting order, Gerardo Parra is out because of his hand surgery, and the Rockies made very few moves during the offseason. Here’s what’s been happening in spring training so far.
David Dahl has had something of a slow start. The young outfielder missed out on what could have been an amazing season last year due to a rib injury. The Rockies are putting a lot of faith in their young players, and Dahl has yet to have a hit, despite 2017’s hot streak. However, Mike Tauchman put up some good numbers, and Raimel Tapia has dominated. Pitching has been pretty solid, which is undoubtedly what the Rockies were hoping for. It’s hard to come to any real conclusions based on spring training, but what we’ve seen so far might give us an idea of what is to come.
The Rockies might have something special going on in Scottsdale, Arizona. They look good in their Cactus League games. They looked good last year, too, but one might argue that it’s looking even better. The Rockies’ success often gets discounted due to the Coors Field effect, but there is something special about this team now. The stars are still there, and the pitching potential is almost too good. The Rockies are almost in a pickle in that they have too many good options for positions. The Rockies will surely face some tough competition, but we can cautiously hope that this year will be the one for us.
Last year, German Marquez, at just 22 years old, showed us that he can pitch with the best of them. He’s not worried about a sophomore slump, feeling even more comfortable now that he is not a rookie. He has a decent mix of pitches, but is looking to improve his changeup in spring training. Marquez did well in his premiere this year, but he’s already striving to do better. Marquez had a solid 2017, and I am excited to see what he can do in 2018.