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A’s claim Domingo Tapia off waivers from Royals

100 mph fastball!

Kansas City Royals v Minnesota Twins Photo by David Durochik/Diamond Images via Getty Images

The Oakland A’s added another promising arm to their rebuilding bullpen mix.

The A’s claimed pitcher Domingo Tapia off waivers from the Kansas City Royals, the team announced Saturday morning. He was then optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas, so he will settle into the minors for now.

The 30-year-old Tapia brings some MLB experience, during which time he dazzled radar guns with his triple-digit velocity. He made his MLB debut in 2020 with five appearances for the Red Sox, and then last summer he pitched two games for the Mariners before heading to the Royals for another 32 outings.

  • Tapia, 2021 MLB: 2.67 ERA, 33⅔ ip, 26 Ks, 15 BB, 1 HR, 25 hits, 3.35 FIP

Those are solid numbers altogether, backed up by a decent .303 xwOBA. When asked to protect a lead he earned the hold seven out of 10 times with three blown, which is serviceable.

The right-hander is a flamethrower, with a four-seam fastball and sinker that both average above 97 mph and top out over 100. He broke triple-digits 15 times last year, including one pitch at 101 mph, plus several more in the upper-99 range. He complements that fire with an effective slider, and a changeup that’s been knocked around.

That might sound like the power arsenal of a strikeout artist, but Tapia has never racked up lots of Ks in his career, not even in the minors. Instead of missing bats entirely he does a better job missing barrels, inducing grounders and popups that help him limit hits and homers. However, his slider does give him a swing-and-miss weapon, and at his best he can also pump his heat past batters.

Here’s another look at the sinker.

A few more fastball videos:

Tapia hasn’t yet appeared in the majors this season. He began the year on the Royals Triple-A team, throwing five innings with typically solid results before being designated for assignment last Sunday.

Now he joins the A’s 40-man roster. To make room, outfielder Mickey McDonald was designated for assignment. McDonald was added to the roster last week to help fill in for injuries and made his MLB debut on April 20, ultimately playing four games and going 0-for-4 with two walks. The local San Mateo product will now pass through waivers, but if he clears that process without being claimed then it’s possible he could remain in Oakland’s system.

The A’s are trying out lots of new arms in their bullpen this summer, and the depth chart continues to grow. Before Tapia, they also picked up right-hander Gabe Klobosits off waivers earlier this month.

Here’s the updated 40-man roster. Players listed in —italics have not yet debuted in the majors. Players on the 60-day injured list, COVID-related injured list, and Suspended List do not count as part of the 40-man limit.

Oakland A's 40-man roster (40)
Pitchers Hitters
Starters

Frankie Montas (R)
Cole Irvin (L)
James Kaprielian (R)
Daulton Jefferies (R)
Paul Blackburn (R)
Adam Oller (R)
Zach Logue (L)
—Adrian Martinez (R)

60-IL: Brent Honeywell (R)

Relievers

Domingo Acevedo (R)
Justin Grimm (R)
Zach Jackson (R)
Dany Jimenez (R)
Adam Kolarek (L)
Jacob Lemoine (R)
Sam Moll (L)
A.J. Puk (L)
Kirby Snead (L)
Gabe Klobosits (R)
Domingo Tapia (R)
—Wandisson Charles (R)
—Jorge Juan (R)

CV-IL: Lou Trivino (R)
60-IL: Deolis Guerra (R)
Catchers

Sean Murphy (R)
Stephen Vogt (L)
Austin Allen (L)
Christian Bethancourt (R)

Infielders

Elvis Andrus (R)
Tony Kemp (L)
Jed Lowrie (S)
Sheldon Neuse (R)
Kevin Smith (R)
Nick Allen (R)
—Jonah Bride (R)
—Jordan Diaz (R)


Outfielders

Seth Brown (L)
Cristian Pache (R)
Chad Pinder (R)
Stephen Piscotty (R)
Billy McKinney (L)
Skye Bolt (S)
—Cody Thomas (L)

SL: Ramon Laureano (R)