Rookie catcher Zack Collins is the most recent prospect to be called up during the Chicago White Sox rebuild and he is already making an impact.
Collins has accomplished two things that define his offense ability in his first two at-bats, which is to draw walks and hit home runs. These are the reasons why Collins presence and development is vital to the future White Sox lineup.
In his first major league plate appearance, Collins drew a walk in the ninth inning against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. In his second at-bat in Texas this past Friday, He crushed a 447-foot three-run home-run to centerfield. The home run was the most important hit as the White Sox won the game 5-4.
As the 10th overall selection in the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft, Collins is seen as a potential left-handed power threat. Throughout his time in the minors, he has been able to hit home runs, but more importantly draw walks. Last season in Double-A Birmingham, Collins drew over 100 walks and hit 15 home runs in 122 games.
He hit nine home runs and 36 walks in just 50 games in Triple-A Charlotte before being called up to the majors last week.
The White Sox need Collins to be the slugging left-handed bat that their offense has been missing since Adam Dunn. Although Dunn couldn’t hit for average, he was still able to draw walks and hit home runs. In four seasons with the White Sox, Dunn averaged 27 home runs and 80 walks.
The biggest reasons why the White Sox need Collins to be successful is because he could provide much-needed protection to fellow White Sox sluggers in Eloy Jimenez and Jose Abreu. Having Collins’ ability to draw walks could help in how the opposing pitcher would want to pitch the other Sox hitters.
Batting in front of Abreu or Jimenez, he could see better pitches, and by being able to draw a walk, it limits the opposing team’s chances of pitching around both Abreu or Jimenez. If he bats behind them, he could have a strong chance to make them pay by driving in more runs via the home run.
If the White Sox do re-sign Abreu who is a free agent following the end of this season, he would have something in Collins that he hasn’t had before. In only two seasons did Abreu have someone batting behind him that could protect him in the lineup. In 2014, it was Dunn and in 2016 it was Todd Frazier. Frazier hit 40 home runs batting behind Abreu in his only full season with the White Sox.
Collins is still quite some time away from hitting in the middle of the order as right now he is developing how to handle major league pitching. He will struggle for the near future, but look for him to improve towards the end of the season.
The remainder of his 2019 season is putting himself in a position where he can excel with his first full season in the majors in 2020. If he can hit.260, drive in 70 RBIs, hit 20+ double, hit 20+ home runs, and most importantly draw 70 walks or more, he will be the key to a successful White Sox line up.