White Sox first round pick catcher Zack Collins, of Miami (Fl) went 3-4 with a home run, a walk and three RBIs in his debut with the class A Winston-Salem Dash Friday. Collins was promoted earlier in the week from the Arizona White Sox in the Arizona Rookie League.
His Winston-Salem debut is encouraging after Collins was 1-11 with seven strikeouts and one walk in Arizona. Defensively he had a passed ball and runners went 2-2 on stolen base attempts.
The game was scoreless until the Dash exploded for eight runs in the bottom of the fourth. Collins’ three-run home run extended the Dash’s lead to 7-0. Spencer Adams who is now the White Sox number one prospect got the win.
Adams pitched six innings giving up six hits and two runs. He recorded his eighth win of the season. He was the third-ranked prospect in the White Sox system in spring training.
White Sox Director of Scouting Nick Hosteler spoke with the Future Sox blog earlier in the week. He discussed Collins future with Brian Bilek from Future Sox.
"Zack has a bigger demand with catcher. The involvement with him as far as developing is going to take a bit more time because of the fact that he is a catcher…Once he gets his feet under him and his legs under him…(and)…out to Winston and gets going in the regular flow of a professional baseball player he’ll be better. I think the bat is a tick ahead of the defense for the short-term future but I think in the long-term run there’s really no need for us to push him. I do think given the fact that we all think he’s going to be a solid-average catcher in the big leagues and that his catching so far, has been very good, that we are willing to take a little more time with him."
Current White Sox catchers Alex Avila and Dioner Navarro are signed through the end of this year. They have been underwhelming behind the plate, although Avila does have a 1.0 WAR. That’s higher than first baseman Jose Abreu and closer David Robertson.
Hosteler’s interview indicates the White Sox will be patient with Collins. Could they sign a veteran this off-season and have him be the backup next season? The likelihood is he will settle in for the next six weeks with Winston-Salem and then move up to Birmingham or Charlotte next season. He could follow Fulmer progression of the last 12 months. Collins is likely to get a shot to win the catcher’s job in spring training in 2018.