Date of Birth: 6/6/1990 (2014 Opening Day Age: 24)
Acquired: 2011 Draft, 6th Round
Ranking History: #9 (2012), #11 (2013), #14 (2014), #8 (2015)
Background: After leaving Baylor University, Collins was selected in the 6th round by the Tigers in 2011 out of Howard College, and he promptly raked in his pro debut in the NYPL, posting an .893 OPS in 42 games. Collins jumped all the way to High-A Lakeland in 2012 and continued to hit well with a .290 batting average 47 extra-base hits in 126 games. With Double-A Erie in 2013, Collins struggled, hitting just .240 but popped 21 bombs. He split the 2014 season between Toledo and Detroit, hitting .263 in the minor leagues and .250 in his big league debut.
|2014 Stats - Hitting|
Body: Built more like an NFL fullback than an outfielder; thick, muscular and athletic body; very strong throughout; broad neck; explosive strength; lacks prototypical size but makes up for it in other ways and by successfully utilizing strength in game.
Hit: Feel for barrel exists and has ability to make contact and get on base; struggles to do this when trying to drive ball out of the ball park; understands the strike zone, recognizes pitches reasonably well, and has a willingness to work counts; struggles to consistently employ ability to get deep in counts; when offensive approach is focus of game, player has potential to hit .260-.270 against MLB pitching; struggles to match this facet of game with power potential, meaning to worlds struggle to coexist; likely a below-average hitter long term with spurts where he posts better averages and possibly reasonably OBP. Grade – Present 4/Future 4
Power: Tons of raw strength and good bat speed from the left side; has raw potential to hit 20+ home runs per season but to find power in game situations, must alter approach, extend swing and get too aggressive; when focus is on hitting and working counts, has ability to wear out both gaps and should pick up doubles; with full playing time, player has potential for 12-15 home runs and 25+ doubles; power will be streaky as offensive game is exploited by advanced pitchers. Grade – 4+/4+
Speed: Aggressive runner that puts a lot of effort in on the bases and in the field; all-out style when looking to take extra bases or steal bags; fringe raw speed; good instincts allow him to have success stealing bases; capable of swiping 12-15 bases a year with regular playing time and the appropriate on-base rates; speed plays to fringe level in outfield as well. Grade – 4+/4+
Defense: Limited to corner outfield spots due to modest reactions and instincts when the ball is in the air; organization has toyed with him in CF; lacks speed and instincts for position; fits best in left field where his routes are most direct and his knowledge of the ball flight is at its peak; arm fits in LF as well; decent defender on the corner but not a true asset; effort makes up for many misgivings; modest room for improvement remaining as he continues to get reps. Grade – 4+/5
Arm: Fringe-average arm that lacks true velocity or carry; accuracy is solid most of the time; when player overthrows, accuracy suffers; arm fits best in left field. Grade – 4+/4+
Other: Grinder; leaves everything on the field; works hard on and off the field; good in clubhouse.
Summary: Max-effort player that leaves it all on the field; manager’s dream in terms of effort and grit; tools come up short of everyday profile; fringe hit; fringe power; hit and power could play higher as individual tools but Collins has trouble melding both at the same time; defensive profile should be left field only, but can be stretched to other positions in an emergency; glove, speed, and arm all fringe tools; more sum of his parts than carried by an individual tool.
Risk: Low risk; Low ceiling; minimal development remaining; second tour through Triple-A in 2015.
Projection: Collection of fringe tools come up short of playing every day at the MLB level; potential solid bench option with ability to provide some thump in the late inning; some potential to work as platoon bat but would be stretched carrying the heavier load; success in Triple-A in 2015 could lead to him being a trade chip this summer; barring a trade, Collins projects as an option to help strengthen the Tigers bench in 2016 and beyond.
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