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South Side Sox Top Prospect No. 13: Zack Collins

Big power, and improved defense, mean this backstop’s time is coming soon on the South Side

Two-way trouble: Collins has swung a heavy bat this season, and appears to be improving behind the plate as well.
Laura Wolff/Charlotte Knights

Zack Collins
220 pounds
Bats: Left
Age: 24
SSS rank among all catchers in the system: 1

Collins had a decent year at pitching-friendly Birmingham, but still had frustrating issues with contact and defense. For the year, this former first-round pick hit .234/.382/.404 with 15 homers, 68 RBIs, 101 walks and 158 strikeouts over 418 at-bats. He hit .242/.390/.433 against righthanders while hitting just .212/.357/.317 against southpaws, so a future catching platoon with Seby Zavala may be imminent unless the Sox find ways to get them both playing at the same time.

A far more interesting split is seeing the damage Collins did with Eloy Jimenez batting behind him, compared with everyone else. In 48 games with Eloy batting directly behind him, Collins hit .291/.391/.503; otherwise, he hit just .198/.339/.340. Thus with proper protection in the lineup, Collins can be quite a hitter.

His defense is still a work in progress, although he did reduce his passed balls a bit in 2018. Opponents ran like gangbusters against him, swiping 93 bases in 74 games; Collins did throw out runners 29% of the time.

Collins has played all year in Charlotte, unsurprisingly passed up when it came time to replace the injured Welington Castillo on the roster, as the more defensive-minded Zavala got the call. With the Knights, Collins is mashing hell out of the ball, to the tune of .257/.386/.541 in his first 32 games. Whether or not his batting average and power surge is due to the juiced Triple-A ball hardly matters, really, as it’s the same ball Collins would be crushing in the majors as well.

Collins has caught 23 games this season, with a handful of DH and first base slottings as well. He has just one passed ball so far this season, a marked improvement. His caught stealing percentage is holding steady at 38%, but opponents are attempting less steals overall against him. For a guy who seemingly has a questionable future as a backstop, these are very promising developments.

Take a look!

In place of the long list of Top 100 prospects with story links that usually resides here, just click the “South Side Sox Top 100” on our page, below the main stories, to access a list of every player so far profiled.

More information on South Side Top Prospects.