The Rockies announced Thursday that infielder Colton Welker has received an 80-game suspension without pay for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Welker tested positive for dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, a banned substance, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post tweets.
Welker issued a statement in response to his suspension (via the MLBPA), saying in part: “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.”
A fourth-round pick of the Rockies in 2016, Welker has slashed .313/.364/.469 with 34 home runs in 1,409 plate appearances during his minor league career. The 23-year-old hasn’t played above Double-A ball, but he was set to open 2021 in Triple-A prior to receiving this suspension. Baseball America and FanGraphs are among the outlets that consider Welker one of the Rockies’ top 10 prospects, with the latter’s Eric Longenhagen writing that he could evolve into a “role-playing corner bat but the power/defensive spectrum shortcomings leave him short of a more regular role.”