Scouting Phils Prospect #23: Zach Collier

Zach Collier knows all about overcoming obstacles and he has himself on the brink of a true breakout season. He should start the year at Double-A Reading and is one of the key Phillies prospects to watch in 2013.

Zach Collier

Position: LF, CF, RF
Bats/Throws: Left/Left
Birthday/Age: September 8, 1990 (22)
Ht/Wt: 6' 2", 185 pounds

How he became a Phillie: Drafted by the Phillies in the first round - 34th overall pick - of the 2008 Draft.

Defense: Collier is slightly above average defensively and his arm grades out as strictly average. He has good speed and can get to a lot of balls in the gaps and will generally make all of the routine plays well and occasionally dazzle with his glove.

Scouting Report: Collier has had to overcome a lot of issues. In high school, he collapsed after a practice and wound up needing open heart surgery to correct a pinched coronary artery. Obviously, he missed time because of the surgery and recovery and it took him a little while to get his swing back, but he rebounded quickly enough that he was considered by some scouts to be worthy of a mid-first round pick, but fell to the supplemental round where the Phillies didn't waste any time in grabbing him. Collier missed the entire 2010 season after needing two hand surgeries and again, it took him a little while to get his swing back.

In September of 2011, Collier tested positive for amphetamines and was suspended for 50 games to start the 2012 season, dealing yet another blow - this time, self-inflicted - to his career.

The good news is that Collier put up improved, but not overly impressive numbers at Clearwater in 2012. The best thing that happened to him was that the Phillies sent him to the Arizona Fall League, where he exploded against good competition. His numbers (0-10-.371/.461/.532) represented the type of performance that the Phillies have been looking for out of Collier and he'll likely start the 2013 season at Double-A Reading.

Collier doesn't project to give the Phillies much power, but he can do some good things with the bat and does have the potential to hit for a slightly higher average than most. He also has enough speed that he will steal a few bases and he can especially put that speed to good use if he can continue to cut down on his strikeout numbers - he struck out once every 4.7 at-bats in 2012 - and convert a few more of those strikeouts into walks. 

Ceiling: Overall, Collier has good skills and projects to have the ability to be a starting center fielder in the majors. Don't expect super-stardom, but most likely, something along the lines of a Shane Victorino, but with slightly less power, but slightly more speed. He's got good fundamentals and now that he's hitting the upper levels of the minors, it's going to be interesting to see how his development continues. Don't lose sight of the fact that Collier is still just 22-years old and has lost substantial time due to the injuries and suspension. If he keeps himself on the field, Collier should be one of the pleasant surprises in 2013.

The Phillies thought enough of Collier to add him to the 40-man roster over the winter, so he would be protected in the Rule 5 Draft.

ETA: It's likely that Collier won't really figure into the Phillies plans until around 2015 and perhaps a little later if he has any more setbacks or needs more time to conquer the upper levels. If everything goes perfectly, perhaps a September, 2014 audition will be a possibility.

2008GCL Phillies37129153591019501728.271.347.357
2009combined stats116435619626814520732122.221.276.324
4 Seasons3431263165313721881327123115309.248.314.352
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 1/23/2013.

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