Zack Collins, the tenth overall pick and the White Sox first-round pick in 2016, has quickly made his way to Double-A ball in Birmingham.
At 23 years old, his age benefits his case with the White Sox.
The 2016 season for the Sox was not kind, and the selection of Collins had a bit of a “help us now” feel. His age was greater than most of his fellow first-round picks, thus giving him an advantage in experience.
Bursting on the scene
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When Collins burst onto the professional scene quickly after finishing his junior year at Miami University, he wasted no time He played just three games for the Arizona League White Sox before being promoted to the Winston-Salem Dash. There he hit .258 in 36 games while also hitting six home runs. He then spent parts of his 2017 season in both Winston-Salem and Birmingham, where he hit a combined .224 with 19 homers over 113 games.
Troubles as a pro
His first full professional season was not kind to him. However, he has turned it around thus far in 2018. Through June 12, he is hitting .273 with nine homers.
He’s proving he has the ability to reach base consistently as well, as he is currently third in the Southern League with a .440 on-base percentage. Despite speculation, he has stayed at his original position of catcher this year.
Collins will definitely find himself in the majors soon, it it just a matter of when. The matter of where on the field he will find himself however, it is not 100 percent certain. Since the day the White Sox make him their first round pick, there has been speculation of Collins possibly converting to the outfield. Though solid defensively, Collins’ fielding abilities are definitely outweighed by his bat. Therefore, most believe his future should be somewhere on the field that will not affect his health as much as catching potentially could.
Could we see him soon?
The problem is, the White Sox currently find themselves down a man at catcher. A few weeks ago, I personally believed there was no chance we would see Collins in the big leagues this year. But, following the Castillo suspension, I’m willing to say it is now a 50/50. The reason I’m reluctant to feel confident is due to the emergence of White Sox catchers this year. Kevan Smith is turning heads as he’s currently boasting a .421 batting average, and Omar Narvaez is also holding his own in the bigs. Regardless, his potential assures he will be up soon.
If Collins can continue to produce offensively, there’s definitely a chance he could be called up before the end of 2018. Whether it’s 2018 or 2019 though, Collins will cement himself as an essential part of the White Sox lineup. We can all agree it has been a while since the Sox have had a reliable fixture at catcher. Collins’ hitting ability could one day make him one of the better hitting catchers in all of baseball.