Colton Welker Shows Mature Hitting Approach
High Class A Lancaster third baseman Colton Welker again showed pitch recognition and strike-zone discipline that were extraordinary for a young player.
The 20-year-old hit .333/.386/.503 with 32 doubles, 13 home runs and 82 RBIs in 114 games and led the California League in batting and hits (151).
Hitters at wind-blown Lancaster can fall into the trap of trying to hit home runs. Welker never did. Farm director Zach Wilson said: "He cares about, 'How do I get runners across home plate?' "
A 2016 fourth-round pick out of Douglas High in Parkland, Fla., Welker has a plus-plus arm and could hold his own at third base now in the big leagues. He was introduced to first base this season, keeping with the Rockies emphasis on versatility.
Righthander Peter Lambert dominated at Double-A Hartford by going 8-2, 2.23 in 15 starts with 12 walks and 75 strikeouts in 92.2 innings.
The 2015 second-round pick from San Dimas (Calif.) High then advanced to Triple-A Albuquerque, where he recorded a 5.04 ERA in 11 starts. He threw 11 scoreless innings in his final two starts as he adjusted to more disciplined Triple-A hitters taking pitches slightly off the plate that enticed swings from Double-A hitters.
The 21-year-old Lambert sits at 92-93 mph with a fastball that hits 96 mph and that he commands well. He also has a very good changeup and curveball.
Pitching coordinator Darryl Scott said: "His makeup might be more special than his stuff. His stuff is good. His makeup is really special.”
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The 2018 first-rounder prioritizes development over results—which is impressive given how well he has pitched this year.
KEEP AN EYE ON
In the sixth round this year, the Rockies drafted right fielder Niko Decolati out of Loyola Marymount. Wilson said Decolati, 21, "has every tool and plus makeup” and "an unbelievable balance between humility and confidence.”
Decolati hit .327/.414/.532 at Rookie-level Grand Junction with 11 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 games. A plus runner at times, he went 17-for-22 in stolen base attempts and showed discipline and pitch recognition with 34 walks and 56 strikeouts.
"He’s got one of the hard parts of hitting kind of figured out, which is that right-center (field) approach,” Wilson said of the righthanded hitter. "Once he continues to learn to pull the ball with frequency when he gets pitches to pull, he is going to be an extremely dangerous hitter. "