As part of his continuing Top 100 Prospects series for ESPN, Keith Law posted his top sleeper in each organization this morning. For the Mets, that player was Kingsport righty Domingo Tapia; once again, for those on the outside of the paywall looking in, here is a brief commentary:
"Right-hander Domingo Tapia is 6-foot-5 and hits triple digits as a starter with some sink on the pitch. He pairs it with a solid to above-average changeup that produced a reverse split in his 50 innings in Kingsport last year. He'll need a more consistent breaking ball to project as a top-end starter, but the velocity and changeup are a good start."
Definitely a solid choice by Law as the 20-yr old Tapia clearly has all of the tools to rocket up the Mets rankings this coming season, perhaps more so than any other single player. Perhaps my only small gripe is the definition of the word 'sleeper' as Tapia is suddenly becoming a very hot name in Mets prospect circles.
As well he should. Last week I ranked him as the Mets no. 22 overall prospect based on those same strengths that Law noted, being the special triple-digit sinker, the good feel for a change-up and the excellent raw physicality. I said:
"...the 20-yr old Tapia looks the part of a horse. What's more, he learned to harness that build this year as his already intriguing sinking fastball blossomed into a truly plus-plus, mid-90's offering and according to reports he was regularly hitting triple-digits. Even better, Tapia has a refined control of that pitch which affords him highly advanced command for someone so young and with so much stuff. That in and of itself drives Tapia up these rankings..."
Hell, I may have even bit a bit conservative with my ranking, initially penciling him in someplace in the teens based on his outstanding mix of size, stuff and youth alone. However, what ultimately held me back was his weirdly and somewhat concerningly low K-rates for someone with his stuff and command (2011: 5.40 K/9 | 2010: 5.55 K/9).
Regardless, Tapia absolutely has the look of a top tier pitching prospect; kids with his mix of abilities just don't come around very often. There's a very solid chance that by this time next year we very well may be talking about him as the next Mejia or Familia.