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Rockies prospect Colton Welker off to a hot start in Lancaster

Rockies news and links for April 28, 2018

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Rockies’ prospect Colton Welker turning heads with his swing at Class A-Advanced Lancaster | The Denver Post ($)
PuRP No. 5 Colton Welker is off to a hot start to 2018 with the Lancaster JetHawks, the Class-A Advanced affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. Through his first 85 plate appearances, Welker is producing a .313/.435/.552 slash line, with four home runs and an impressive 17.6% walk rate. With a primary position of third base, Welker may look to add on some defensive versatility, as the Rockies have Nolan Arenado entrenched at the position at the MLB level. Welker would certainly not be the first player in the Rockies’ farm system to add some versatility to his game. It’s been a stated goal of the organization, and natural third baseman Ryan McMahon has transitioned to third base for a clearer path to Major League playing time.

Rockies farm director Zach Wilson has a lot of praise to offer for Welker’s performance, and notes that he believes that Welker can successfully establish himself at any infield position and be a quality big league player. At this juncture, the primary focus for Welker is on staying healthy for an entire season. In 2017, he missed over two months of the season due to an injured groin. If health is on his side, all Welker needs to do is maintain his early-season production, and he’ll be on the fast track to quickly advancing through Colorado’s system.

Colorado Rockies: Wish List for the Miami, Chicago, New York road trip | Rox Pile
After the current series in Miami, the Rockies will continue their road trip in Chicago against the Cubs, and then move on to New York to play the Mets. Rox Pile’s Nick Bunney runs down the nightmare and dream scenarios for the road trip. The key factors are for Trevor Story to continue his hot hitting, “keep the chip on the shoulder,” and for young players David Dahl, Noel Cuevas, and McMahon to force tough decisions as Carlos Gonzalez returns from the disabled list.

Top 10 Major League Ballparks | Baseball America
Baseball America recently ranked the top 10 Major League ballparks. Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, and Dodger Stadium are considered in a section called “A League of Their Own,” so they do not factor into the rankings. Coors Field comes in at number 6 on the list, garnering praise for the brewery and the BBQ.

Minor League Matters: Rising prospects generating buzz at the Class A-Advanced level | The Athletic ($)
In the latest edition of Minor League Matters, The Athletic focuses on players around the Class-A Advanced league. Getting a shoutout for the Rockies is PuRP No. 16 Forrest Wall. To begin the season in Lancaster, Wall is slashing .310/.396/.440, as he begins to reestablish himself as one of the organization’s top young talents.

Media Views: Matt Holliday dabbles in broadcasting but hasn’t given up on playing again | St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Former Rockies All-Star outfielder Matt Holliday is now 38 years of age and taking on broadcasting duties for MLB Network Radio, but he is looking to continue his playing career if given the opportunity. Over his past 162 games (split between the St Louis Cardinals in 2016 and the New York Yankees in 2017), Holliday has slashed .231/.315/.434, good for a 99 wRC+.

Stark: It’s time to shorten the MLB schedule. Here’s how it could work | The Athletic ($)
In an excellent article for The Athletic, Jayson Stark reveals the implications and plausibility of reducing the Major League Baseball season schedule to 154 games. This recently became a topic of discussion when Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo suggested too many games were played. Former Rockies General Manager Dan O’Dowd has a lot to say about the subject, and even came up with his own plan on how to trim down the schedule.

Around Baseball

What does it mean to be a No. 1 prospect, and how does Acuña compare to others who’ve held that title? | The Athletic ($)
Cliff Corcoran of The Athletic compares Ronald Acuña to other players who have held the title of the game’s top prospect. Acuña has had an impressive two games to begin his career, picking up his first career hit in his first career game, while showing off an elite 30.3 feet/second sprint speed going first to third. Then, in his second career game on Friday, he connected on his first big league home run.

How advice from a cab driver helped save Wade LeBlanc’s career | The Athletic ($)
For Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Wade LeBlanc, a turning point in his career occurred when a cab driver suggested he change his motion. But it wasn’t just the mechanical adjustment that marked a turnaround for LeBlanc. It was the first time he truly took to heart the suggestions of others who thought he could be going about his business differently.