GRAND CHUTE - At 6-3 and 222 pounds Timber Rattlers catcher Clint Coulter carries the out-sized frame of a professional athlete. The 20 year old can use that frame to carry the outsized expectations that come with being a first round pick.
During 2013, Coulter’s first full season in professional baseball, he was aware of the expectations. "I think maybe last year I felt it a little bit more. You want to just come out and start dominating and you're in a pool of great, great players and stuff and you've got to make adjustments and get better each day and don't try to rush things," Coulter said.
Manager Matt Erickson sees Coulter following the same path former Timber Rattlers and current Brewers Khris Davis and Scooter Gennett went through on their way to the majors.
"Physically they're good enough and you can tell them that until you're blue in the face but they have to deal with that failure, handle their emotions, and some are better than others,” Erickson said. “I think Clint was mature enough to understand that it's a process for him and it's going to continue to be a process for him if he's going to make the journey through the system and eventually to the big leagues.”
Coulter began 2013 with Wisconsin as well hitting 213 with 13 RBI in 31 games before being sent to rookie league Helena. He's shown the form this season that made the Brewers take him with a first round pick in 2012.
Coulter credited the staff for helping him refine his approach. “You know just keeping it simple, just letting the ball get deep and staying back and getting a good pitch to hit," Coulter said.
Coulter has already won a Midwest League player of the week award thanks to that plate approach. He's hitting 262 with 4 homeruns and 14 RBI this season.
Erickson said Coulter used to be a max effort hitter and now is letting the game come to him which is yielding better results. "This year you see a much more relaxed approach. He's not trying to hit the ball 800 feet every swing he takes. He's trying to use the middle of the field," Erickson said.
Coulter understands that this process is a big part of what playing in the Midwest League is all about. "It's just about learning and knowing what you're doing wrong and what it takes to get right and just competing and making adjustments and having fun," Coulter said.
Having fun and getting paid for it, seems almost like a dream.