Tapia will be optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque, Nick Groke of The Denver Post reports.
Tapia was considered likely to open on the big-league roster and potentially even win a starting outfield role at the beginning of this spring, but his chances decreased after the team brought back Carlos Gonzalez. Tapia was left to battle for a bench role with infielder Ryan McMahon. McMahon won that battle after hitting .328/.375/.537 this spring, compared to Tapia's .242/.284/.355 line. Tapia will return to Albuquerque with little to prove, as he hit .369/.397/.529 in 58 games there last season. When he eventually returns to the big leagues, he's a good bet to produce a strong (Coors-inflated) batting average with a handful of steals, though his value will ultimately depend on his playing time.
Tapia's chances of breaking camp with the major-league club decreased following the signing of Carlos Gonzalez, Thomas Harding of MLB.com reports.
Tapia was initially in the conversation for a starting outfield role, but with a veteran run producer now in camp to combine with Charlie Blackmon, Ian Desmond and Gerardo Parra, the outfield may be too crowded for Tapia. The 24-year-old may begin the season at Triple-A Albuquerque in order to get consistent at-bats, but his speed (17-for-21 in stolen base attempts last season) and contact ability (80 percent contact rate this spring) will make him appealing if he's able to carve out consistent at-bats at some point.
Tapia gained 15 pounds over the offseason as he attempts to garner a starting outfield spot, Thomas Harding of MLB.com reports.
The 24-year-old speed demon produced well both at Triple-A and in the majors, sporting a .926 and .754 OPS at those levels, respectively. He also displayed his excellent speed, going 17-for-21 in stolen base attempts between the two levels. Although he has a lot going for him, Tapia still doesn't seem to be in line for a full-time role. Charlie Blackmon is entrenched in center, while Ian Desmond seems to be the primary left fielder heading into the season given that the Rockies are expected to give Ryan McMahon the chance to act as the starting first baseman. This leaves Tapia, Gerardo Parra (hand) and David Dahl to compete for reps in right field, a battle which seems to be primarily between the latter two. Naturally, things can change during spring training, whether it be injuries (such as Parra's hand surgery) or struggles at the plate by other players. For now though, it seems like Tapia is more in line for a reserve outfield role unless injuries strike or if Desmond or Parra are forced into more action at first base.
Tapia went 9-for-25 (.360) with five RBI and five runs scored in the month of September.
The young outfielder did a decent amount of damage in a reserve role due to the Rockies' postseason race, but he still managed to raise his season slash line to .288/.329/.425 by the regular season's end. Carlos Gonzalez's potential departure prior to the 2018 season could open up a spot for Tapia to get regular playing time, which means we could finally get to see if he can translate his gaudy minor-league numbers to the big leagues in an everyday role. His role for 2018 should become clearer once spring training draws closer.
Tapia was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque on Thursday, Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post reports.
Tapia will rejoin the Rockies after finishing his season at Albuquerque with an impressive .369/.397/.529 line in 58 games. The 23-year-old spent some time with the big club earlier in the season, slashing a respectable .274/.324/.407 in 53 games, so he figures to see at-bats down the stretch as a reserve outfielder.
|3/30/2018 vs Arizona|
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