Brewers Prospects

Milwaukee Brewers: Clint Coulter Promoted to Triple-A

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MILWAUKEE, WI - AUGUST 08: Fans attempt to catch a home run hit by Eric Thames #7 of the Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Miller Park on August 8, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - AUGUST 08: Fans attempt to catch a home run hit by Eric Thames #7 of the Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Miller Park on August 8, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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On Tuesday, the Milwaukee Brewers decided to promote Clint Coulter to Triple-A Colorado Springs. What does this mean for Coulter moving forward? More importantly, what does this mean for the Brewers this season and in the future?

Clint Coulter was a highly-touted prep catcher when he was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the first round of the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft. His power potential was his biggest calling card, but scouts were also impressed by his arm.

Six years later, Coulter is still making his way through the Brewers’ minor-league system. Tuesday marked a big step in his path to the big leagues, as the organization decided to send him up to Triple-A.

Who is Clint Coulter?

As stated before, Coulter was a first-round draft pick of the Milwaukee Brewers back in 2012. He debuted as the No. 10 prospect in the Brewers’ system according to MLB.com, just a few spots ahead of fellow first-rounder Victor Roache. The then-18-year-old catching prospect signed with the Brewers quickly and headed straight for the Arizona Rookie League. He produced a .302/.439/.444 slash line with five home runs and 33 RBI in his first taste of professional baseball.

Coulter continued to rake in Arizona the following year, eventually earning him a promotion to Low-A Wisconsin for part of the season. He certainly didn’t find as much success in his first taste of full-season ball, but that was to be expected to a point given he was nearly two and a half years younger than the average player in the Midwest League. The real issue at hand was injury, as Coulter only mustered 282 plate appearances in 2013 across three levels.

As a result, Coulter spent the entire 2014 campaign with Low-A Wisconsin. This proved to be a shrewd move, as the young backstop blossomed with a .287/.410/.520 with 22 homers and 89 RBI. This bumped him into the top five on the Brewers’ top prospect list and even gave him a chance to play in the prestigious Arizona Fall League.

From Catcher To Outfielder

In order to try to speed up his path to the big leagues, the Milwaukee Brewers opted to convert Coulter to a corner outfield spot. Coulter’s ability behind the plate (outside of his arm) was pretty suspect to begin with, so moving him to the outfield wouldn’t change his defensive profile all that much. Besides, his arm could play up in the outfield, so the Brewers weren’t overly worried about the ramifications of the position change.

This assumption proved to be costly. Coulter struggled mightily in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League, batting just .246 with 13 homers in his first season with High-A Brevard County. Things didn’t get better in a repeat of the level the following year, as he hit just .220 in a bit over half a season with the Manatees.

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He did perform better following a promotion to Double-A Biloxi, but his struggles at the plate, when paired with the plethora of new talent in the Brewers’ farm system, were enough to put him out of the team’s top 30 prospects entirely.

Coulter proceeded to spend all of 2017 and much of 2018 in the Southern League. In the last year and a half with Biloxi, he hit 25 home runs and drove in 84 RBIs. A .256 batting average this season was the best he could do in that category, however. Despite the promotion to Triple-A, Coulter’s prospect shine has all but worn off at this point.

What Does Clint Coulter’s Promotion Mean?

For one, Clint Coulter’s promotion means the Brewers’ haven’t given up on him entirely. It seemed like Milwaukee abandoned hope with Roache in 2017, when they traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers for cash considerations. The Brewers opted to keep Coulter around and let him develop. After all, Coulter was still around the average age of players in Double-A this season. His road through the Brewers’ system may be long and bumpy, but there’s still hope.

Additionally, it’s pretty well-known that Colorado Springs is a hitter’s haven. Even though he hasn’t been spectacular at Double-A, Coulter may be able to get into a groove at the plate if he’s swinging in a more hitter-friendly environment.

The Milwaukee Brewers also understand that their time having Colorado Springs at their disposal is running short, so now is the time to give Coulter some at-bats in the thin Colorado air.

Does this promotion make a September callup for Coulter likely? Not likely, but certainly possible. Coulter is largely blocked from a starting role in the Brewers outfield for the next several years, but since he profiles as little more than a bench power bat anyway, the Brewers certainly could give him a look after he gets a couple weeks of hitting in Colorado Springs.

The more likely scenario is that he’ll spend next season in Triple-A as well while he eyes a promotion to the big leagues at some point late in the 2019 season.

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Coulter’s time as a top prospect has come and gone, but there’s still a bit of intrigue here. If he can display some promise at the plate during his time at Triple-A, there’s a chance he could help out at the major-league level as soon as this September.

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