Welch Finding His Comfort Zone

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - The New York Mets went down under to acquire the current first baseman for their Florida State League affiliate. Not only has first baseman Stefan Welch made the transition to a new position across the diamond, but he's acclimated to baseball in the states after growing up in Australia. Welch explained to Inside Pitch where he feels his game is in his fourth season.

Foreign-born players are the norm in Major League Baseball these days, but most hail from the Caribbean or Central and South America. The St. Lucie Mets first baseman, Stefan Welch, is a rare find from down under in Adelaide, Australia.

Welch hit .301 through the season's first two months with 58 hits and 37 RBI. This is his second season in St. Lucie after splitting half of last season in Savannah. He has grown more comfortable to his new home and his production is benefiting from it.

"I'm more comfortable here now. I've been looking for a new place to live this season, but Florida is nice. Getting settled was the biggest adjustment I've had to make outside of baseball these past seasons," Welch said.

He has become a more consistent hitter in the Mets lineup this season and much of that success is directly related to the time he has spent with hitting coach George Greer.

"I've developed the most as a hitter by just being smarter with pitches. I'm a lot better at knowing the strike zone and I'm swinging at fewer bad pitches. George has helped me a lot so far while I've been here. He has spent a lot of time helping me become a better hitter and I appreciate what he's done," Welch stated.

As a first baseman, teams expect some power from that spot in the lineup. Welch has struggled with the long ball and only has three homeruns so far this season. It has become a focus of his to improve, but at the same time he knows getting on base is just as important for the team.

"I'm still working on my power, I don't hit too many homeruns right now. I mainly just try to drive the ball into the gaps and hit it as hard as I can. Getting on base is my main focus, and whether I get a single or a home run it still puts the team in a better position," Welch explained.

So far in his career with the Mets organization he has been a valuable member of the squads he's been on. He started his career as a third baseman, but has since switched to first base with the St. Lucie club.

Moving across the infield in a position change can often be difficult for players to adjust to, but Welch has gotten right back to business and continues to be a solid defender on either base line.

"It's more relaxing at first base to be honest, I feel like there is a lot less pressure. It was a definite adjustment and third base is a lot harder to play in what I've experienced so far," he said.

These adjustments give the Mets young first base man more confidence in his game both on defense and offense. He continues to be a productive hitter, but has also made a conceited effort to better his defense as well.

"I'm very versatile and can play several positions. I need to work on following through on my throws sometimes though. When playing in the infield everything happens so fast at times, you're always in a rush," Welch explained.

"Another thing I tend to do is reach out when I should put my body in a better position to make the play, either catching the ball or tagging a guy out," Welch discussed. "

Welch's playing experience differs somewhat from his teammates when comparing Australian baseball to baseball over here.

"Most of my playing experience comes from playing on Australian club teams. The game is different over there, but not as much as most people would think. Some things catch me off guard at times, but not as much as it used to. Baseball in Australia is gaining a lot of attention and popularity over the past few years," he said.

"I didn't have any college scholarships to play over here and was relatively unknown, but I've made the best of everything and think I'm doing very well for myself," Welch stated with a smile.

The adjustments to a faster game are understandable when considering Welch's roots in Australia. His success so far is no fluke however; the first baseman looks be one of the focal points in St. Lucie this summer with both his glove and his bat.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nForeign-born players are the norm in Major League Baseball these days, but most hail from the Caribbean or Central and South America. The St. Lucie Mets first baseman, Stefan Welch, is a rare find from down under in Adelaide, Australia.
\r\n
\r\nWelch hit .301 through the season's first two months with 58 hits and 37 RBI. This is his second season in St. Lucie after splitting half of last season in Savannah. He has grown more comfortable to his new home and his production is benefiting from it.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm more comfortable here now. I've been looking for a new place to live this season, but Florida is nice. Getting settled was the biggest adjustment I've had to make outside of baseball these past seasons,\" Welch said.
\r\n
\r\nHe has become a more consistent hitter in the Mets lineup this season and much of that success is directly related to the time he has spent with hitting coach George Greer.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've developed the most as a hitter by just being smarter with pitches. I'm a lot better at knowing the strike zone and I'm swinging at fewer bad pitches. George has helped me a lot so far while I've been here. He has spent a lot of time helping me become a better hitter and I appreciate what he's done,\" Welch stated.
\r\n
\r\nAs a first baseman, teams expect some power from that spot in the lineup. Welch has struggled with the long ball and only has three homeruns so far this season. It has become a focus of his to improve, but at the same time he knows getting on base is just as important for the team.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm still working on my power, I don't hit too many homeruns right now. I mainly just try to drive the ball into the gaps and hit it as hard as I can. Getting on base is my main focus, and whether I get a single or a home run it still puts the team in a better position,\" Welch explained.
\r\n
\r\nSo far in his career with the Mets organization he has been a valuable member of the squads he's been on. He started his career as a third baseman, but has since switched to first base with the St. Lucie club.
\r\n
\r\nMoving across the infield in a position change can often be difficult for players to adjust to, but Welch has gotten right back to business and continues to be a solid defender on either base line.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's more relaxing at first base to be honest, I feel like there is a lot less pressure. It was a definite adjustment and third base is a lot harder to play in what I've experienced so far,\" he said.
\r\n
\r\nThese adjustments give the Mets young first base man more confidence in his game both on defense and offense. He continues to be a productive hitter, but has also made a conceited effort to better his defense as well.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm very versatile and can play several positions. I need to work on following through on my throws sometimes though. When playing in the infield everything happens so fast at times, you're always in a rush,\" Welch explained.
\r\n
\r\n\"Another thing I tend to do is reach out when I should put my body in a better position to make the play, either catching the ball or tagging a guy out,\" Welch discussed. \"
\r\n
\r\nWelch's playing experience differs somewhat from his teammates when comparing Australian baseball to baseball over here.
\r\n
\r\n\"Most of my playing experience comes from playing on Australian club teams. The game is different over there, but not as much as most people would think. Some things catch me off guard at times, but not as much as it used to. Baseball in Australia is gaining a lot of attention and popularity over the past few years,\" he said.
\r\n
\r\n\"I didn't have any college scholarships to play over here and was relatively unknown, but I've made the best of everything and think I'm doing very well for myself,\" Welch stated with a smile.
\r\n
\r\nThe adjustments to a faster game are understandable when considering Welch's roots in Australia. His success so far is no fluke however; the first baseman looks be one of the focal points in St. Lucie this summer with both his glove and his bat.
\r\n
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