FARGO — Entering his sixth season in professional baseball, Tim Colwell has a career batting average nearing .300.
That statistic doesn’t surprise Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks hitting coach Chris Coste. A former North Dakota State outfielder, Colwell has a knack for making solid contact.
“Quite simply he has an amazing ability to find the sweet spot,” Coste said. “Very few do it as well as Tim. It’s a gift. It can be improved, but for the most part a lot of us are just born with it or not.”
Colwell batted .320 in 83 games for the RedHawks last season. He also had 22 extra-base hits, including 15 doubles, while stealing 24 bases. Colwell is projected as the No. 2 hitter for F-M, which opens the American Association regular season at 7:05 p.m. Friday, May 17, at the Kansas City T-Bones.
“He has a knack for putting the barrel on the ball,” said RedHawks manager Jim Bennett, entering his first season as the team’s manager. “That is something you can’t always teach.”
The 27-year-old Colwell is entering his sixth season in the American Association. He previously played with the Sioux City Explorers for three seasons and the St. Paul Saints for one season prior to joining the RedHawks last season. Colwell has batted at least .300 in three of the past five seasons.
“It’s still my dream to move on and keep playing in a (Major League) organization,” Colwell said. “The more you play, the more you realize that is out of your control. … I think the biggest thing that I’ve learned is just to enjoy the opportunity.”
When he's done with professional baseball, medical school is next on his list. Colwell, who wants to become a doctor, was a nursing assistant at a Twin Cities area hospital this past offseason.
“They are both kind of dreams of mine,” said Colwell, who is from Shoreview, Minn.
Colwell said he is in the process of applying to medical schools, but doesn’t have a concrete timetable for how much longer he wants to pursue his professional baseball career.
“I’m kind of taking it year-to-year,” Colwell said. “I couldn’t quite hang them up yet. I enjoy everything about it a little too much. That kind of keeps me coming back.”
Colwell said having a coach like Coste is inspiring. Coste, also the head baseball coach at Concordia, made his debut in Major League Baseball at 33 years old. Coste was a World Series champion with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008.
“He always says play as long as you can and enjoy it,” Colwell said.
Coste said the 5-foot-11, 185-pound Colwell is a well-rounded player who could make it in the Major Leagues if given the chance.
“If he was in a Major League lineup, he would succeed,” Coste said. “You know every single day what you’re going to get.”
Colwell is part of an outfield that also features Brennan Metzger and Devan Ahart. All three played with the RedHawks last season. Colwell is projected to play right field with Ahart in center and Metzger in left. Bennett said all three have the ability to play center field.
“All three of us are pretty comfortable with each other,” Colwell said. “I love playing with those two guys out there.”
The left-handed swinging Colwell said it’s “pretty cool” to be playing for F-M, which plays its home games in Newman Outdoor Field. Newman is also the home field for NDSU, where Colwell played for four seasons.
“I do feel pretty comfortable in Fargo,” he said.
Right-handed pitcher Bradin Hagens is the probable starter for the regular-season opener against the T-Bones. Colwell likes the team’s makeup heading into the season.
“I’m very excited about where are pitching staff is. I think we have some very good arms,” he said. “I like the depth of our lineup. I think we’re going to be able to score some runs.”
Bennett likes the intangibles a player like Colwell brings to a team.
“Tim is probably the most valuable clubhouse guy on the team,” Bennett said.