Excellent news on a Monday morning. Once again, the White Sox pitiful depth reared its ugly head in the final two games against the NYY, but that’s expected right now. It sucks but it’s reality at the same time. Sure, it’d be nice for their to be *some* sort of competency outside of Lucas Giolito and to a much smaller extent Ivan Nova and Dylan Covey, but there isn’t, so every time the Sox rattle a few exciting games off, they’re just going to back them up with a few stinkers.
But every passing day those stinkers get closer and closer to completely ceasing to exist. Today is one of those days with Zack Collins reportedly being called up. He represents two things:
1. Either the catcher, 1B or DH of the future
2. A trade piece for whatever X good or better player in the future.
Whatever he winds up being, seeing him take at bats from either Alonso or Castillo in 2019 is a breath of fresh air. But before we talk about those two, let’s talk about Collins himself:
He’s Got Frank Thomas Eyeballs
262 career walks in 1,350 career MiLB plate appearances. That’s good for a 19.5% clip with a .378 career MiLB OBP. Assuming he walks at a 13-15% moving forward, that’s still about 2x better than league average. Needless to say his eyeballs play. The key to winning baseball games is scoring more runs than the other team. The way to score runs is to get on base as much as possible. Zack Collins gets on base a LOT.
He’s Also Got Really Nice Power
9 home runs on the season in spite of being on the IL with a concussion for a decent chuck of the season. He is a very, very polished hitter; we already have talked about how he doesn’t swing at balls, but he also attacks pitches with a goal of hitting them in the air in mind. His career MiLB .8 GO/AO ratio and swing both scream loft.
He Strikes Out. A LOT.
Career ~30% clip in MiLB. This is NOT good. His walk rates somewhat make up for this, but White Sox fans are going to fucking riot after a week or so when Collins is striking out every other at bat. My advice to you: BE PATIENT. He is afforded the same ~500 at bats that Moncada (should have) received, Eloy is getting, etc. If in July of 2020 he hasn’t adjusted, then we can start to worry. Until then? Let him get his goddamn feet wet. He only swings at strikes, so the more he sees big league pitching the less he’ll strike out. Expect him to be about .220/.320 wit 10ish bombs at season’s end, assuming he stays for good.
He Is Okay Defensively. Not Bad, Not Great
This is coming straight from my brain to yours. I watched him catch in spring training the year after he got drafted and he looked stiff as FUCK. I was like yeah…. no. That’s not a big league catcher. The next year? It was clear he worked on flexibility, lateral agility and overall athleticism because he looked MUCH better defensively. Not Pudge Rodriguez by any means, but not Kurt Suzuki either. That said, he’s got a really nice arm. He’s smart and cerebral so he should pair with the pitching staff well as he has an uncanny ability to get inside the head of a hitter and he receives well, so overall he should be at worst a little below average and at best decent. He’s not here to be Pudge Fisk though, he’s here to mash baseballs and get on base.
I REALLY don’t want him to settle in as a three outcome hitter. I think he’s so smart in his approach to attacking hitting that he doesn’t need to be. I’d love for him to carry his Charlotte slash line to MLB. Settle around something .250/.375/.475 with an .850ish OPS when he settles in as a big league hitter with 20ish bombs a year. Those numbers as a catcher? Those numbers in the 6-7 holes? Those numbers PLAY. Again, it’ll take a minute for him to get there, but when he does he’ll just be another solid to better run producer, this one being in the back half of the lineup.
… Or he gets traded in a package for someone better. That lack of big league depth I was talking about early? Yeah it’s dying a slow, painful death every time a move like this is made.
NOW… assuming he is in fact called up, (team hasn’t confirmed yet) an additional roster move has to be made. The current 40 man is at 39 after the Indians claimed AAAA pitcher Jordan Stephens off waivers. Jon Jay is due back this week, so there’s 40. Someone will have to be DFA’d in order for Collins to fit onto the roster. 99.99% of the time a team doesn’t carry 3 catchers, so the easy way to do it would be to just dump Castillo.
That said, Castillo has been playing well of late. He lost his starting innings to James McCann who’s been All Star worthy, but over the last few weeks he’s hit fine and his catching solid enough. I am of the opinion this spells the end for Yonder Alonso. McCann and Collins can split catching duties with all three rotating in/out at DH. This could be very incorrect, but this is the route I’d take. That said, Castillo was removed from the game yesterday so he might be headed to the IL anyways, so if that’s the case, someone would only need to be removed from the 40 as of now. Who that is, I have no idea.
This is getting more fun by the day though. JUST BE PATIENT WITH HIM. Next up: Dylan Cease
Let’s fucking go!