During the 2015 season, I followed the Brevard County Manatees and penned a weekly summary blog over the summer. I got to know most of the players (from afar) and learned a lot about the skills of the players in the Class A (Advanced) League. One in particular was a former high school catcher turned right fielder.
His name is Clint Coulter, the ninth-ranked prospect in the Milwaukee Brewers organization by the Reviewing the Brew staff.
Coulter was the Brewers number one pick in the 2012 MLB June Amateur Draft, selected from Union High School in Camas, Washington, just across the Hood River from Portland, Oregon.
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The 6-foot-3, 222-pounder played strictly behind the plate on defense his first three seasons and did well, throwing out 25% of the runners that attempted to steal on him (59 of 234). Whether the Brewers weren’t happy with his defense or if they didn’t want to burn him out behind the plate wasn’t really specified, but Coulter began playing outfield in the Arizona Fall League in 2014.
Coulter’s bat was never questioned, as he slashed .302/.439/.444 in his debut in the Arizona Rookie League, including five homers in 214 trips to the plate. There has been some inconsistency, but that is to be expected with young players.
Last season in the Florida State League, Coulter had a slash line of .246/.329/.397 in 569 plate appearances. One thing he has done well is to draw walks: 11% in his career, although he dropped off a bit last year, down to 8.0%. Another facet of his game that boosts his on-base percentage is his ‘willingness’ to get hit by a pitch. The last two years he was hit 21 and 18 times, respectively.
He is still learning to play outfield, but his strong arm is definitely an asset in right field. While he made 11 errors in 118 games, he also threw out 16 base runners, an impressive number for a first-time outfielder.
Coulter should start the 2016 campaign at AA Biloxi and hopes to build on his solid resume thus far.
What does the future hold for this former top draft pick? Unless the Brewers have an emergency and need a power hitting outfielder this season, Coulter should make his major league debut sometime in the second half of 2017. Right now Ryan Braun is blocking the way at the major league level, but the expected trade of first baseman Adam Lind could mark the move of Braun from the outfield to first base. Or so rumor has it.
Either way, the appearance of Clint Coulter in a Milwaukee uniform is breathlessly awaited by scores of True Blue Brew Crew fans.