1. Zack Collins, c |
Born: Feb. 6, 1995. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 220. Drafted: Miami, 2016 (1st round). Signed by: Jose Ortega.
Based on 20-80 scouting scale—where 50 represents major league average—and future projection rather than present tools.
Background: Collins was well-known as an amateur. A prolific high school hitter, he played for USA Baseball throughout his prep days and had significant draft interest as a high school senior. He slid to the late rounds of the draft, however, due to his Miami commitment and doubts about his ability to remain behind the plate. When Collins made it to campus, he had an immediate impact offensively. He was the 2014 college Freshman of the Year after batting .298 and swatting 11 home runs in a down year for offense in college baseball. His hot hitting never cooled off. In his draft year, Collins batted .363/.544/.668 and drew 78 walks, the most of any Division I player since Anthony Rendon walked 80 times in 2011. Collins focused on improving as a receiver as his junior year approached, encouraging the White Sox enough to make him the 10th overall pick in 2016. Collins had a solid pro debut at high Class A Winston-Salem, putting himself on the fast track to Chicago.
Scouting Report: While Collins’ calling card will always be his offense, his defensive progress was exceptional in his junior year, and he particularly encouraged evaluators with his soft hands. He shows the ability to set a low target and keep his glove hand still, and he’s shown the aptitude to understand umpires’ strike zones and adjust his framing technique in response. Collins has shown the ability to get underneath the ball down and far to his glove side as well as the ability to get his thumb under the ball when he has to extend his glove across his body for pitches towards the righthanded batter’s box. His footwork is what holds him back from being an average defender. Collins has a thick, muscle-filled lower half and isn’t nimble. His extra-large frame allows him to stay in front of the ball well, even if he can’t make acrobatic scoops when pitchers miss their spots. Collins has an average arm with solid accuracy. Regardless of what kind of defensive player he ends up being, Collins’ offense will play. He has a rare combination of strength and bat speed, giving him plus power. In his pro debut, he showed the ability to drive the ball out to left-center field or turn on mistake pitches on the inner half, though he will occasionally collapse on his back side early and roll over high fastballs. Collins has a patient approach at the plate, with elite strike-zone awareness and an uncanny idea of which pitches he can do damage with. He has a rhythmic swing, with a bat tip forward as he loads his hands. Collins’ wrist movement gives his bat path extra length, but he’s on time more often than not.
The Future: As with any first-year professional, Collins has yet to be consistently challenged by pitchers who boast both command and stuff, so his performance in 2017 will be telling of his ultimate offensive ceiling. He will look to continue refining his defense as he progresses to the upper minors. He likely will advance to Double-A Birmingham in 2017, and could be on the fast track to the majors as the team’s needed answer at catcher.
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