2011 Rank: 36
Why Ranked Here: Tapia’s a big guy with a big fastball with some star potential. He has the best fastball by velocity, of the 2011 Kingsport trio of Akeel Morris and Juan Urbina sitting in the mid 90s and topping out in the upper 90s – I heard 98. A year ago, I wrote that he was touching 94, and as a 19-year old, he’s at the age where it’s normal for pitchers to add velocity as they grow stronger and develop better mechanics.
His changeup, which was ahead of his breaking ball a year ago, remains so, with Keith Law calling it “above average.” Indeed, lefties hit just .242/.299/.339 in 67 PA in Kingsport in 2011 compared to .265/.326/.356 for righties. It’s not a huge difference, but yes, that’s a reverse platoon split.
He induces a crazy number of ground balls – over 50% at Kingsport.
At some point, he’ll need to miss more bats, but that’s a matter for 2012.
On ceiling, Tapia is the equal of nearly any young pitcher in the system, but he’s years away.
2011: Tapia made 11 starts in Kingsport, before the Mets moved him to Brooklyn to make one appearance before the New York-Penn League playoffs. Before that however, he had some improving to do at Kingsport. Through June and July, he ran a 6.23 ERA (7.27 R/9) in 26 innings with a 15/7 K/BB. In August, he dropped that to a 1.13 ERA (2.63 R/9) with a 14/9 K/BB. The key to his preventing runs in this case was fewer hits: in June and July the opposition hit .305 against him compared to .198 in August.
Dr. Pangloss Says: Can I dream of a really good starter?
Debbie Downer Says: Lets see him make it through a full-season before going ga-ga over him Dr.
Projected 2012 Start: Savannah
MLB Arrival: 2015