How should White Sox use Zack Collins in 2020?

(Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images) /

The Chicago White Sox’s decision to sign Yasmani Grandal this offseason will prove to be one of their best ones, but it will make it much harder for Zack Collins to find playing time. 

As of now, Collins is not even set to be the team’s backup catcher in 2020 as James McCann appears set to take on that role.

That leaves the left-handed hitter on the outside looking in on a strong catching tandem that doesn’t really need a third option.

One thing working in Collins’ favor, though, is the addition of the 26th roster spot around the game that some teams might look to carry a third catcher with.

For a White Sox team that has three catchers arguably worthy of a major league roster spot, it could be their method of taking advantage of the rule.

However, given that the White Sox are high on Collins long-term, does it make much sense to have him playing maybe once a week and coming off the bench as a pinch-hitter occasionally?

After signing Edwin Encarnacion, the DH spot isn’t even open for McCann or Collins, making both true backups for the team at best.

Sure, Grandal might play first base some days or DH but, in all likelihood, that would mean McCann is the backstop on that day, not Collins.

Truthfully, the White Sox might want to send him to the minors to start the 2020 season which would allow him to get regular reps behind the plate.

Scott Merkin of notes that Collins needs to get better defensively behind the plate, but also adds that he’s been working with Grandal this offseason to improve.

Now, if the White Sox want to keep Collins at the big league level so that he can continue working with Grandal, who is one of the best defensive backstops in the game, then all power to them.

But, I personally believe that they should send Collin to the minors to open the season given that he didn’t fare well offensively in his brief time in the majors last season either (.186/.307/.349 slash line with three home runs, 12 RBI, and a 77 wRC+).

But, for right now, Collins might be most useful for the team as a player ready to take charge in case of an injury.

Collins should be the first player called up if any of Grandal, McCann, Encarnacion, and Jose Abreu get injured during the season.

By keeping him in the minors, he will already be accustomed to regular playing time which could be more beneficial for him than playing once a week or even less at the big league level to start the season.

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While Collins almost certainly would rather start the season on the South Side, he’s most useful for the White Sox as insurance to start the season.