School: University of Miami; Class: Junior
Position: C; B/T: L/R
Height: 6–3; Weight: 220
Previously Drafted: Cincinnati Reds, 27th round, 2013
Background: A late round pick of the Cincinnati Reds coming out of American Heritage High School in 2013, Collins leads the way for an impressive crop of collegiate catching talent heading into this year’s draft. Collins has been a model of consistent above-average offensive production during his three-year run with the Hurricanes.
The lefty-swinging backstop shined as a true freshman, hitting .298/.427/.556 with 14 doubles, three triples, and 11 homeruns; he followed that up with an even better sophomore campaign, slugging .302/.445/.587 with 14 doubles, five triples, and 15 homeruns; and, finally, he raised the bar even higher in 2016. In his first 47 games with Miami, Collins is mashing to the tune of .387/.560/.655 with eight doubles, and 10 homeruns. As of May 17th, his .560 OBP ranks second in the nation and he’s average 1.26 walks per nine innings, the best mark among all DI players.
And, of course, here’s the list of awards he’s garnered in his illustrious career:
2014 Coral Gables Regional All-Tournament Team
2014 NCBWA Freshman Hitter of the Year
2014 All-ACC Third Team
2014 Baseball America Freshman All-America First Team
2014 Perfect Game Freshman All-America First Team
2014 Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-America First Team
2014 NCBWA Freshman All-America First Team
2014 Baseball America National Freshman of the Year
2015 All-ACC Team
ABCA/Rawlings All-Atlantic Region First Team
2015 ABCA/Rawlings All-America Third Team
2015 Perfect Game All-America Second Team
Projection: Here’s the best part of Collins’ string of offensive dominance: Since his first day on campus he’s displayed an impeccable feel for the strike zone. Through his first 174 games, he’s sporting a career 158-to-144 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
And just how special has Collins been in 2016?
Well, consider the following: Between 2011 and 2015 no catcher at the Division I level has posted an OBP north of .550, and only one catcher – Long Island-Brooklyn’s Tyler Jones – has finished a season with an OBP above .510.
Collins is the cream of the crop when it comes to collegiate catching. He does everything exceptionally well: he’s been dominant – and continued to improve – during each of his seasons with Miami; he hits for average and power, and possesses an incredible eye at the plate.
Depending upon his defense and ability to handle fellow southpaws – the data is unavailable to me now – Collins has the makings of an above-average, perhaps even borderline All-Star.
Ceiling: 3.0- to 3.5–win player
Floor: 1.5-win player
Risk: Moderate to High
Grade: First Round, Top 15