SF Giants News: Top 3 non-roster minor league position players to follow in camp
2. Colton Welker
Colton Welker might be one of my favorite non-roster invitees in camp. The Colorado Rockies originally drafted him in the fourth round of the 2016 draft out of Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, Florida.
At one point, he was considered one of the top prospects in baseball, ranking as the No. 95 prospect according to MLB.Com prior to the 2019 season. However, his prospect status has dimmed quite a bit in recent seasons.
Of course, like many minor leaguers, Welker lost development time in 2020 due to the canceled minor league season. He was slapped with a PED suspension in 2021 and missed most of the 2022 season after undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery.
Similar to Sam Delaplane, Welker just needs to find a way to stay on the field. He has tallied a total of just 224 plate appearances as a pro since 2020, but he is still relatively young (25).
Across six minor league seasons, the right-handed bat has slashed .309/.364/.471 with a 7.9 percent walk rate against a 17.5 percent strikeout rate. His best season came in 2018 when he posted an .872 OPS with 13 home runs in High-A during his age-19 season.
That was a long time ago but he has still shown flashes of quality bat including recording a .936 OPS in 45 plate appearances in Triple-A last year before hitting the injured list. When he is in the batter's box, Welker is very hitter-ish in a way that reminds me of Donovan Solano.
If he performs in Triple-A this year, the 25-year-old could earn a midseason promotion. The question is what position will he play? He has experience at first base and third base. He does not hit for enough power to stick at first base and the depth chart at third base includes David Villar, J.D. Davis, and Casey Schmitt. All of them hit from the right side, so it is a tough position to crack.