Colorado’s High A Lancaster roster features one of the Cal League’s deepest group of positional prospects, with names like Forrest Wall (CF), Tyler Nevin (1B), and Willie Abreu (RF) lining the roster. After my three-game look at the team, it was 2016 fourth-rounder Colton Welker that came away with the highest future projection.
Welker’s bat carried him through his draft cycle, and continues to do so as a pro. He has filled out a 6’2” frame and is showing increased raw power that now projects to a future-plus grade. I like his chances to get to it in games because of a swing-path geared for lift, ability to use the other field and avoid the shift, and the strike zone awareness he shows flashes of at times. Presently, Welker is occasionally more aggressive than he needs to be given his feel for the barrel and zone, and he had bouts of swing-and-miss across my look. Despite some length to his swing, his hitting instincts are ahead of the curve for his age/pro experience, and I see a future above-average hitter and hitter for power that has enough bat to stick in the lineup at third base.
I came away bullish on his defensive skills and projection at the hot corner. Despite some present stiffness, Welker’s footwork is enough for the position–he moves average laterally and charges the ball well with the ability to throw on the run and control his body. His arm is above-average across the infield, and he reads hops well and sets his feet before making the play, allowing for a quick release. Though he carries a large and muscular frame, he’s agile and athletic for his size and I expect him to continue to add polish defensively such that he can remain at third base at higher levels. With his offense and ability to play more than just first base or left field, the ceiling is an above-average third baseman with 55-grade hit and power tools.