Collins was a sixth round pick of the Tigers last year on heels of a whopping season at Howard Junior College (Texas). The sophomore outfielder crushed the opposition en route to the NJCAA Division I Player of the Year award.
The Tigers signed Collins for $210,000 in July. After just one game to get his feet wet in the Gulf Coast League, the Tigers moved Collins to Connecticut and the New York-Penn League.
In 42 games for the CT-Tigers, Collins hit .313/.360/.534. He pounded out 51 hits, including ten doubles, one triple and eight home runs. On top of that he drove in 31 runs, scored 28 times and added six steals in seven attempts.
Collins is a stocky, physical athlete with a wealth of tools. He looks more like a football fullback than an explosive outfield athlete. Scouts familiar with him over the years have grown accustomed to tossing Brian Giles comps on his for his build and offensive approach.
Collins has good knowledge of the strike zone but is an aggressive hitter that likes to swing the bat. He can get himself out at times when chasing out of the strike zone but as he settled in last summer he showed an increased willingness to work the count and take walks when he didn't get a pitch he could drive.
Collins has good bat control and the ability to track breaking balls well. He adjusts well from pitch to pitch as well as at-bat to at-bat. His approach and knack for contact give him an excellent chance to be at least a plus hitter down the line.
He has very good bat speed in his swing and he can handle good velocity very well. He uses the whole field to his advantage but he seems to prefer working the ball to the pull side with authority. He has the strength to drive the ball out of the park but doesn't have a ton of loft in his swing, limiting his home run projection. He profiles as a player capable of hitting 30 doubles and driving 15-18 home runs a year.
Collins is an unspectacular defender that will likely be limited to left field as a pro. He doesn't always read the ball well off the bat and his routes can get a bit loopy at times. He is a plus runner that can cover ground and make up for some of his other mistakes in the field. Collins' arm is also his weakest tool, rating solidly below-average.
For the scouts that believe in Collins' offensive potential, they see a potential solid regular. If his bat develops as hoped, Collins could provide a good average, good on-base skills and at least average power production.
Performance Level Team AB AVG 2B HR RBI SO BB OBP% SLG% SS-A
Collins is a workout fiend and has not had any major injuries in his career.
Collins performed exceptionally well last summer and then continued to rake (.298/.366/.458) in a winter experience in the Australian Baseball League.
With his early offensive showing, Collins has positioned himself for a chance to move all the way to High-A Lakeland to start the 2012 season. If he continues to perform well in minor league camp, the Tigers could skip him over West Michigan and accelerate his developmental path.
Collins' approach at the plate and well-rounded offensive game gives him a chance to be an extremely fast moving prospect. He could reach Double-A by the end of the 2012 season and could be on the big league radar in time for the 2014 campaign.
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