STEFAN WELCH
FIRST BASEMAN
  Born: August 12, 1988
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 175
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
Signed: International Free Agent, 2005 (Mets)
How Acquired: Minor League Free Agent
Birthplace: Adelaide, Australia
Agent: N/A

WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES

Welch was signed out of Australia by Tony Harris, who now works for the Pirates.  He made slow progress through the Mets’ system and stalled at high A.  He played 44 games at third in 2008, but otherwise has played first almost exclusively.  The Pirates signed him shortly after he became a free agent in 2011.

2007
R:  288/346/353, 139 AB, 9 2B, 11 BB, 22 K, 1-3 SB

Had a decent debut in rookie ball, hitting for average but not much power.

2008
R+:  281/316/447, 253 AB, 14 2B, 8 3B, 4 HR, 11 BB, 40 K, 4-4 SB
A:  263/364/474, 19 AB, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 BB, 5 K

Welch hit better in the advanced rookie Appalachian League, with good gap power but very few walks.

2009
A:  239/271/359, 92 AB, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 4 BB, 19 K
A+:  278/350/412, 216 AB, 10 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 20 BB, 37 K

Welch didn’t hit well in low A, but the Mets promoted him to the Florida State League and he did much better there.  He had a passable walk rate and hit for decent power.

2010
A+:  256/325/395, 496 AB, 29 2B, 8 3B, 8 HR, 37 BB, 126 K, 2-3 SB

Returning to the FSL, Welch didn’t hit as well and his K rate skyrocketed.

2011
A+:  271/361/438, 436 AB, 19 2B, 3 3B, 16 HR, 57 BB, 105 K, 3-4 SB

Returning to the FSL for a third season, Welch showed the most HR power of his career and also posted a career-high walk rate.  He turned 23 at the end of the season, so he was only a little old for the level.

2012
A+:  265/320/429, 226 AB, 11 2B, 1 3B, 8 HR, 17 BB, 44 K, 4-5 SB
AA:  266/359/402, 214 AB, 12 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 31 BB, 59 K, 3-4 SB

Welch opened 2012 in Bradenton, where he played primarily third base and occasionally spelled Alex Dickerson at first.  He got off to a slow start but eventually started to hit, and got promoted to Altoona at mid-season.  There he replaced the struggling Jeremy Farrell at third.  He got off to an amazing start, hitting 371/483/600 in his first 22 games, but he slumped badly after that, hitting 215/292/306 the rest of the way.  He struggled badly against LHPs, posting just a .456 OPS against them.

Welch was eligible for minor league free agency, but re-signed with the Pirates.  He’ll return to Altoona, although he appeared to be overmatched there after his initial hot streak.  With Alex Dickerson there and possibly also Matt Curry, he’ll play more at third, possibly sharing time with Adalberto Santos.

STATS
Baseball Reference–Minors
Fangraphs
MiLB.com
CONTRACT INFORMATION
2013: Minor league contract
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2007
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2012
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
TRANSACTIONS
January 15, 2005: Signed as an international free agent by the New York Mets.
November 2, 2011: Became a free agent.
November 22, 2011: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
October 24, 2012: Re-signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates.