Watkins enters his first season as hitting coach in 2021. The former major leaguer played with the Chicago Cubs in 2013 and 2014, logging 58 total games at the MLB level with 24 career hits. Over 11 total professional seasons, the 31-year-old is a .276 hitter with more than 1,000 career hits. Watkins announced his retirement from professional baseball recently after playing with the Toros de Tijuana of the Mexican League in 2019.
Watkins was an American Association Postseason All-Star in 2018 while playing with the Wichita Wingnuts, finishing second in the league with a .338 batting average and leading the circuit with 11 triples. He was teammates on that Wichita club with current Railroaders Hunter Clanin, Zach Nehrir, John Nester, and Chase Simpson. Watkins was traded to Cleburne after the 2018 season, but had his contract purchased by Tijuana and did not suit up for the Railroaders.
A native of Wichita, Kansas, Watkins was a 21st round selection by the Cubs in 2008 out of Goddard High School. He tore through the Chicago minor league system before making his MLB debut on August 4, 2013 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Watkins launched his lone Major League home run the following season against All-Star hurler Justin Masterson. A left-handed hitter, Watkins played in the Cubs system through the 2016 season before splitting 2017 between two different affiliates of the Detroit Tigers.
He and his wife Katherine reside in Wichita and have two children, Greyson and Weston.