Every time Raimel Tapia gets a hit, I am filled with joy. It’s not just because Rockies hits haven’t been in abundance this season either. It’s mostly because when Tapia starts running, it’s only a matter of time before his helmet will go flying off his head. You don’t know when or where, but it’s going to happen.
The best is when Tapia dives into second for a double because the helmet is always jettisoned somewhere between first and second. I have no idea why this brings me so much joy, but I am just trying to embrace anytime I have that feeling while watching the Rockies this season.
And lately, Tapia has inspired a lot of happiness. This is just in the wake of a three-game sweep over the Padres either. It’s because Tapia is absolutely in the zone at the plate. He’s currently riding a 14-game hitting streak. That alone is fantastic. But how he’s doing it and the sheer amount of doubles is absolutely delightful.
Raimel Tapia’s 14-Game Hitting Streak
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In Tapia’s first 53 games this season, he hit four doubles. In 60 at-bats over the last 14 games, Tapia has totaled 28 hits and 12 of them have been doubles. In five of those games, he’s hit a pair of doubles, including on Tuesday and Wednesday. That plethora of two-baggers set a Colorado Rockies record.
Raimel Tapia extended his hitting streak to a career-long 13 games today. He has recorded 12 doubles (so far) during the streak, the most doubles over any 13-game span in franchise history.— Rockies Club Information (@RockiesClubInfo) June 16, 2021
For an organization whose career doubles leaderboard with the top six as Todd Helton (592), Larry Walker (297), Carlos Gonzalez (277), Dante Bichette (270), Nolan Arenado (262), and Charlie Blackmon (251), that’s a big deal.
Perhaps even more impressive is the wide variety of pitches Tapia has turned into doubles and where those doubles have gone. Five have been hit off four-seam fastballs, three on sliders, two on sinkers, and one apiece on a curveball and a cutter. The two-basers have come on pitches ranging from 80-96 mph. None have come on high pitches, instead they’ve been all over the middle and lower portions of the strike zone (with one even below), as well as inside and outside.
Eight of Tapia’s doubles have gone to the opposite field, three have been straight away, and one’s been pulled. (Check out Baseball Savant if you want to see a breakdown of each double.)
Thanks to this hot streak, Tapia’s numbers on the season are now closer to what we would have hoped. As the leadoff hitter and with the potential that he’s flashed since first being called up in 2016, Tapia has to be a big part of the Rockies offense. Bud Black touched on that in the press conference after Wednesday’s win.
“He has the bat-to-ball skills,” manager Bud Black said. “This guy’s a hitter, right? He was a minor league hitter and now that he’s finally got his feet on the ground as a big-leaguer, the hitting tool is starting to show up. He’s a guy who continues to solidify himself at the top of the order. ‘Tap’ is doing his part to help us win and help us score runs.”
Tapia, who has better than average vision at 20/13, also has big expectations for himself. He wasn’t shy about telling reporters about his goals for capturing an NL batting title in spring training. In 2020, Tapia finished in seventh place in the NL at .321, which is far-and-away his best season at the plate, even if it was a 60-game season. In his career, he’s batting .288.
Going into Thursday’s game, he is hitting .298, which is currently 14th best in the NL. Getting above .300 is step one to climbing up that list. While it’s not reasonable to expect Tapia to stay this hot, this June streak could be the catalyst he needs to be the leadoff hitter the Rockies need not only this season, but byeond.
★ ★ ★
While the sweep over the Padres was fun, the Rockies organization does need to get an assessment of where they are at and make a plan of where they want to go and how to get there. Nick Groke points out some valuable intel that the Rockies should use to help figure out the direction for the future and what core of players should be part of that. The answer so far: Austin Gomber, Ryan McMahon, and Raimel Tapia have to be a part of the team’s future.
While I feel bad for the Diamondbacks, mostly I am overjoyed that the Rockies aren’t the one setting this record. It could happen, but it hasn’t. The weird part is that Arizona still has more wins on the road (9) than the Rockies (5). The Diamondbacks have also just played more games on the road (40) compared to the Rockies (32). The D-backs still have a better road winning percentage at .225 versus .156.
On The Farm
Triple-A: Reno Aces 14, Albuquerque Isotopes 4
The Isotopes were held to five hits, but at least one was a two-run homer by Jose Gomez and another was a two-run double by Rio Ruiz, in a night that the Albuquerque would like to forget. Dereck Rodríguez only lasted a third of an inning in the start, giving up a solo homer in the first. Chris Owings went 1-for-3 in his continued rehab assignment.
Ryan Feltner made his Double-A debut, highlighted by 5 2⁄3 scoreless innings with eight strikeouts. Sean Bouchard hit a three-run double on a two-hit night and the Yard Goats won their third straight game on Thursday night. Taylor Snyder is following Raimel Tapia’s lead and extended his hitting streak to 13 games, which is the Double-A Northeast’s longest active streak.
Willie MacIver went 3-for-5 with one run and one RBI, while Michael Toglia and Niko Decolati each added two hits, but it wasn’t enough for Spokane on Thursday night. Trent Fennell struggled in the start, giving up three runs on five hits in three innings.
Zac Veen went 1-for-4 with 2 RBI and two runs scored and Daniel Montano, Mateo Gil, Colin Simpson, and Julio Carreras each added two hits in an offensive explosion for the Grizzlies. Sam Weatherly had a great start, going four scoreless innings with three strikeouts and one hit, despite five walks.
★ ★ ★
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