Hey guys, I made my 1st run of the year down to McCormick field in Asheville last night to see the Tourists (Rockies) take on the Kannapolis Intimidators (White Sox).
The Tourists have a line up full of intriguing young hitters: Manuel Melendez, Jose Gomez, Vince Fernandez, Tyler Nevin and Willie Abreu to name a few. One name I had near the top of my list of players to see this year was Tourists 3rd baseman Colton Welker. So I thought I would make him my 1st Asheville write up.
Welker, Age 19, listed 6’2″, 195 lbs, bats and throws right. Welker was drafted in the 4th round out of high school in Parkland, FL (Fort Lauderdale metro).
Welker looks well put together, I guessed 6’1″ 205 on the field. He’s athletic and he moves well for his size. He’s broad shouldered and could probably add another 10-15 lbs of muscle. That could cost him a step though.
At the dish Welker hits with an open stance, he keeps his hands high and the bat is in constant motion pre pitch. He uses a sizeable leg kick for timing. It’s a lengthy swing but he’s got above average bat speed with lift. The ball does jump off of his barrel. The bulk of the contact right now is up the middle and the other way. With that swing length there will be strikeouts but with the center of the diamond approach some of that will be mitigated (I wrote this after 1 look, I’ve since had a few subsequent looks and he shows very good hand, eye coordination and bat control. It’s still possible P will find some holes to exploit as he climbs the ladder, it feels like less of a certainty now). It’s above average raw power right now with potential for more.
Welker’s a patient hitter he’s seeing pitches and working to get into favorable counts.
A high school SS, Welker is seeing the bulk of the reps at 3rd in Asheville. He’s got good hands and feet and plenty of arm for the hot corner. I haven’t gotten a great read on the range yet, (perhaps I could update this tonight as I’m back for game two of the series). If he continues to fill out he could be a candidate to move across the diamond or perhaps LF.
.Conclusion: Welker will be a fun player to watch develop. As long as he’s not cheating the bat head I think he’ll hit enough to get the power into games. 270-280, 20-25 HR. Stolen Bases will not be a big part of his game at the highest level. Right now I like his chances to stay at 3rd at least in the short run but I want to get a look at the range.
Up next at Notes: I’ll be watching game two of the Tourists vs Intimidators tonight and tomorrow I’ll be posting a piece on Kannapolis starter RHP) Dane Dunning as well as a 1st impression write up on 1B-3B Tyler Nevin, Asheville.
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