TCN 2015 Cards Prospect #22: Malik Collymore

After a career of continual travel, the second baseman stayed put and had an all-star 2014 campaign in the Gulf Coast League.

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile

School: Port Credit Secondary School, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

2014 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
BOR 2B 04,29,95 5-11 190 R R 2013 10th

Selected 2014 stats

GCL 0.333 0.430 177 34 59 7 1 34 18 43 9 0.417 0.403 0.480 0.883

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

Message board community (17): Malik Collymore received significant early attention in the rankings from our community. HighJump31 had him at #15 overall. He noted that Collymore has considerable pop, having blasted a 472-foot home run at the 2012 power showcase in high school. UncleDenny echoed that, saying that he has seen Collymore play five games in Jupiter and he has a lot more pop than people realize.

CardsInChitown would love to see Collymore focus on third base long-term. He believes that growing up in Canada slowed the infielder’s development some due to the intolerable weather for baseball. Mudville believes Collymore has an even higher ceiling than that of highly thought-of shortstop Edmundo Sosa. - Jeremy Byrd

Derek Shore: Collymore was unranked in the TCN top 40 prospect countdown last winter, although he was a part of the “Best of the Rest” series to recognize those who just missed. This winter, Collymore blasted up the rankings, landing in the top 25.

In 2013, it was not surprising to see Collymore struggle in adapting to the professional game right out of the gates when he was first assigned to the Gulf Coast League perhaps due to his growing up in Canada. He batted .228 in just 19 games in his brief stint last year, but those numbers got substantially better in 2014.

Reportedly, Collymore has gained an inch and put on five pounds since draft day 2013. He also has shown more playable tools that helped in the overall improvements in his game. When Paul Ivice, our Gulf Coast League local reporter, interviewed GCL Cardinals manager Steve Turco this past summer, Turco had some positive words to say about Collymore.

"Last year you saw his strength and bat speed in batting practice, but now he is more able to apply that in game situations." Turco said. “Collymore improved his pitch recognition during extended spring training. If he continues to improve and perform as he has in the early going, Collymore is probably the first candidate to move up the chain.”

Defensively, Collymore obviously will need refinement at second base, but he has natural abilities to play the position to an above-average level given his quickness, and strong throwing arm (as he can throw 88-90 mph). He has real potential to be a nice player but the Cardinals will have to be cautious because he is rawer than other prospects his own age. If the improvements continue, expect to see Collymore continue to move up Cardinals prospect lists.

Brian Walton (25): In having prepared these prospect rankings for the last decade, including monthly re-rankings in recent years, I have noticed certain tendencies in my actions.

For example, I find that I tend to place the greatest emphasis on the body of a player’s work over time, rather than react too strongly to a change of course that is still relatively short in duration.

That cuts both ways. At times, I hang onto the hopes of a once-promising player who has slipped. On the other hand, I can also be late to fully adjust to an emerging prospect.

In a year from now, that latter point may be my hindsight stance regarding Collymore. The message board community was all over his success in 2014 while repeating the Gulf Coast League. I am impressed with the major improvement but my ranking indicates I am still holding back a bit.

Even so, other than Collymore’s 2014 teammate Magneuris Sierra, who is yet to come in this top prospect countdown, Collymore has the best 2015 ranking of any player who was also eligible last year but did not make our top 40.

What was perhaps most impressive about Collymore’s performance in 2014 was its balance. Across the entire Cardinals system, his slash line stats ranked second (batting average), fourth (on-base percentage), seventh (slugging) and fourth (OPS), respectively.

Here is a very nice addition. Despite playing in a short-season league, the right-handed batter finished just one triple off a share of the organizational lead with eight three-base hits.

I will add that from a physical perspective, Collymore is one of the more impressive athletes in the system, with an especially compact and powerful base. His upper body appears strong as well.

Though the Cardinals could have promoted the Gulf Coast League all-star during the season as his manager earlier hinted was possible, the organization wisely let Collymore get his feet on the ground in one place for the entire 2014 season. While he is a veteran of travel ball and international play, the continuity of spending the entire spring, summer and fall in Jupiter had to be a stabilizing influence.

In 2015, “jumping the fence” to State College would not be impossible, but at this point it seems more likely that Collymore would open at second base for Johnson City.

Our 2015 top 40 series continues: To see the entire list of top Cardinals prospects and remaining article schedule, click here. This includes the top 40 countdown and nine in-depth, follow-up articles. Most of the latter are exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation.

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