Rockies Prospect Colton Welker Suspended 80 Games for PED Violation

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVMay 7, 2021

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 02: Colton Welker #34 of the Salt River Rafters heads into the dugout during the game against the Scottsdale Scorpions at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on Wednesday, October 2, 2019 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Buck Davidson/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Buck Davidson/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Colton Welker, the 11th-ranked prospect in the Colorado Rockies organization, was suspended 80 games by MLB on Thursday after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.

The Associated Press reported Friday the Rockies said they were "disappointed" by the news and also provided a statement from Welker:

"I want to make it very clear that I have never willingly nor intentionally ingested any substance to enhance my athletic performance. Given the information provided to me by the players' association and laboratory, the amount detected was so minimal that it would have no effect on enhancing my performance.

"I understand that a number of other players, like me, have tested positive for this metabolite at microscopic levels, and I intend to join them in seeking answers as to how this is happening in order to clear my name."

The AP noted Welker, whose suspension is without pay, tested positive for Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, which is a form of anabolic-androgenic steroid.

Welker was a fourth-round pick of the Rockies in the 2016 MLB draft. The third baseman spent the first four years playing in the club's minor league system across four different levels. The minors' 2020 campaign was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 23-year-old Florida native enjoyed a strong spring training this year with a .362 batting average, .945 OPS, two home runs and 12 runs batted in across 28 appearances.

He couldn't crack the club's 26-man roster, however, and was set to start the season with the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes before the suspension.

In March, Welker credited his 10-pound weight loss, leaner frame and overall spring success on a new carb-free diet.

"I think I can perform at that [major league] level," he said at the time. "I feel confident pretty much against anyone right now."

Welker would have likely been high on the Rockies' call-up list if they suffered infield injuries in the coming weeks. That role now falls to Eric Stamets.

The prized prospect will be eligible to return from his suspension in late July.