Tony Wolters hadn't appeared above Double-A prior to the 2016 season, but after developing quite a bit behind the plate and putting together a strong showing during spring training, the former infielder managed to crack the Rockies' Opening Day roster as the backup catcher. Expectations were fairly low for the 24-year-old, as he hadn't hit above .250 since 2013 with Cleveland's Low-A affiliate, but he surprised everyone by posting a respectable .259 batting average to go with 15 doubles and 30 RBI. He also was heralded for his defensive abilities by the end of the season. His 23 percent strikeout rate is less than desirable, but given how much he produced in a backup role, the former third-round pick's first season in the majors was largely a success. Still, catching prospect Tom Murphy seems primed to take over the starting catching duties now that Nick Hundley has left Colorado, which could limit Wolters to a backup role once more.
Wolters should see the bulk of the innings behind the plate after Tom Murphy (forearm) was ruled out for the next 4-to-6 weeks. Dustin Garneau jumps onto the major league roster with this development, but given that Garneau's career batting average in the majors sits below the Mendoza Line, Wolters likely will be the primary catcher moving forward. The converted infielder is off to a hot start this spring, posting a 1.250 OPS in 18 plate appearances, and he'll look to carry that into his second full season in the majors.
Wolters (elbow) is back in the lineup Monday versus the Royals. The young catcher had been sidelined after hyperextending his elbow, but it seems like that ailment is no longer posing a problem. Wolters will resume his normal role splitting catching duties with prospect Tom Murphy.
Wolters, who has been out since hyperextending his right elbow, could play in spring games Sunday or Monday, Thomas Harding of MLB.com reports. The injury apparently came on a swing, but it was only deemed a "slight" hyperextension and shouldn't keep him out much longer. When Wolters returns, he'll go back to splitting catching duties with Tom Murphy.
Rockies manager Bud Black said that Wolters and Tom Murphy will have "shared duties" behind the plate in 2017, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports. Although this phrasing seems to suggest a platoon, Black was insistent that it won't be a strict platoon, and that he'll instead evaluate the offensive and defensive performance of both catchers before making a lineup decision. The skipper also added that it's unrealistic to expect either catcher to amass a 130-game season given their inexperience in the big leagues, so fantasy owners should expect fairly even timeshare between Wolters and Murphy throughout the course of the upcoming campaign.
Wolters went 3-for-4 with a run and an RBI in Sunday's 6-3 win over the Padres. Wolters compiled his first multi-hit game of September and first three-hit game since August 17. The 24-year-old had been struggling prior to Sunday's breakout, going 3-for-25 over his previous 10 contests. Colorado's backup catcher is slashing .262/.335/.398 with three home runs and 30 RBI in 66 games this year.