Acquired: 2011 MLB Draft, 6th Round
Ranking History: #9 (2011)
Collins signed with the Tigers as a sixth round pick in 2011. He flew under the radar as the draft approached, despite monster numbers at Howard Junior College; thanks to a transfer from Baylor the led some scouts to lose focus on him.
After signing, Collins debuted with a bit .313/.360/.534 line in 42 games with short-season Connecticut. Collins ripped ten doubles, eight home runs and swiped six bases with the CT-Tigers.
With such a polished hitter, the Tigers were aggressive and assigned him straight to High-A Lakeland in 2012. Collins saw action in 126 games for the Flying Tigers, hitting at a .290 clip with 58 walks and just 64 strikeouts. In the power department, Collins smoked 35 doubles, five triples and seven home runs. He topped off his season with 20 steals in 23 attempts.
Collins is built more like an NFL fullback than he is an MLB outfielder. His stocky frame features excellent strength that was augmented by an offseason of intense workouts. Collins has the strength and physicality to profile at the big league level.
Collins only two standout tools lie on the offensive side of the ball and they could push him to a big league role. With his strength, Collins generates very good bad speed and controls the barrel of the bat very well. He has good pitch recognition skills but still shows a willingness to expand his zone and try to make contact on pitches he cannot drive.
When he attacks balls in the strike zone, Collins can generate loud contact to all fields. He is a line drive machine that has very good gap power and could pop at least 20-25 doubles with regular at-bats. Collins' over-the-fence power is somewhat limited, but he should still hit 10-12 home runs a year at his peak.
With an offensive profile that includes a .280-.285 batting average and a good number of doubles, Collins has the potential to hit fifth or sixth in a Major League lineup.
Defensively, Collins is limited to left field. He is a high-energy player in the outfield, going all out for everything hit in his direction, but his reads and routes are below-average overall. Collins struggles taking direct routes on balls to either side and will frequently freeze on balls hit directly at him. He has yet to demonstrate the instincts to project significant improvement in the field.
Collins' arm strength also limits him to left field, resting in the below-average range. Collins is a fringe-average runner whose speed plays up a tick because of his style of play. Some scouts believe he may slow a little more as his stocky body fills out more with age.
With Collins, the offensive tools have to play at their projection for him to sustain a full-time big league profile. Without his complete offensive projection, Collins falls short of the offensive production necessary for a player limited to left field defensively. Scouts that believe in Collins see a solid everyday player. Scouts that are less optimistic envision a quality extra outfielder and bat off the bench.
Performance Level Team AB AVG 2B HR RBI SO BB OBP% SLG% A+
Collins has not sustained any significant injuries during his amateur or professional careers. His strength and conditioning are both top notch and he rates as a quality athlete.
Collins was impressive in big league camp this spring and he has cemented his assignment to Double-A Erie. Collins has the offensive tools to play every day at the big league level. He will need to tighten his strike zone and tone down his willingness to swing at pitches he can merely make contact with; instead focusing on pitches he can drive hard. If Collins is able to do that, his bat will have a solid chance of carrying to a regular role in a big league lineup.
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