I just came back from an eerie, parking garage meeting with my sources and they inform me that Domingo Tapia, Starter for the Savannah Sand Gnats, is being groomed for a role as the future Mets closer. Take this news for what it is worth, as we’ve certainly heard the same thing about Parnell, Mejia and Familia in recent years but the news does make a certain amount of sense and I trust my source. Let us look at Tapia’s weapons.
- 4-Seem Fastball – At 6’4” tall, his fastball has a solid downward plane on it. Add that he can crank the pitch up to 100 MPH when he needs to and we have something. The pitch usually sits closer to 95-97 MPH which is still fast enough to make it effective.
- Changeup – It’s not a consistently “Plus” pitch but it does have good movement and can be very good at times. His changeup is a “2-Seem Change” which means that it sinks and has the potential to look more like a slow splitter or curveball.
- 2-Seem Fastball – Tapia’s “Bread And Butter” pitch is his 2-Seem Sinking Fastball. He’s moved away from the 2-Seemer in recent starts as he’s working on locating the 4-Seemer, but this seems to be a project that most of the Sand Gnats are working on.
- Slider – His weakest offering, he does have it as a tool in his arsenal but this is really more of just a challenge for him to throw for strikes at all.
Assuming the slider never becomes an MLB quality pitch it’s hard for him to be viewed as much of an option leading a rotation. While his top three pitches are all different, they aren’t different enough to keep hitters guessing 2-3 times through the lineup. This, combined with that triple digit radar score will earn these whispers about Tapia becoming a closer, but don’t get carried away.
Tapia will likely finish the season in Savannah as a member of the rotation.
He will likely begin 2013 in Port St. Lucie as a member of the rotation.
He might even begin 2014 in Binghamton or Buffalo and still be a starter.
It is far better for Tapia’s development that he be given the innings and workload of a starter while he works on his various offerings. If he stumbles at Advanced A or shows signs of wearing down with the inning workload, the Mets could switch his role with the team sooner, but that really isn’t necessary as of yet. Look for him to switch out of the rotation in 2014.