Chicago White Sox: Who will emerge as the backup catcher?

(Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images) /
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Chicago White Sox Zack Collins
(Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images) /

Zach Collins is a former Chicago White Sox first-round pick that is an interesting option.

The pressure is on Zach Collins. Collins was selected with the tenth overall pick in the 2016 draft with the expectations he would be the White Sox future catcher. He was drafted because of his raw power and ability to get on base. Things have not quite worked out as planned.

Collins made his debut in 2019 but played sparingly. In 27 games he hit .186 with three home runs. In 2020 he only played in nine games and didn’t fare much better at the plate hitting an abysmal .063. However, he said he used that time to bulk up and get in better shape. Collins has not yet been given a real opportunity in the major leagues. With consistent playing time in Triple-A Charlotte in 2019, he slashed .282/.403/.548. He also hit 19 home runs and drove in 74. It is obvious that Collins possesses the offensive potential the White Sox were hoping for when they drafted him. An added bonus is his plate discipline and ability to draw walks, something that the White Sox have struggled with in recent years.

So far in spring training, Collins is 2-for-4 with some walks and a homer thrown in. There have been some questions about his defense. Out of all the candidates, he is probably the worse defensively at this point in his career. That’s not to say he can’t improve. The White Sox catching instructor Jerry Narron has been working with Collins and says he has improved his defense by catching on a knee this year. He also thinks this new stance will improve his pitch framing.

The White Sox would like to see their 2016 investment pay off. Collins probably would be the favorite to win the job if it wasn’t for the arrival of Jonathan Lucroy. But given Tony La Russa’s emphasis on handling the pitching staff, Collins is going to have to prove he is up to the task behind the dish.