The White Sox have signed first-round draft pick Zack Collins, the club announced today. He’ll receive an at-slot bonus of $3,380,600, per Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago (via Twitter).
Collins was taken with the 10th overall selection out of the University of Miami, based largely upon his top-quality bat and outstanding results against strong competition in college. He is coming off of a season in which he not only took 69 walks while striking out just 48 times, but slashed .358/.534/.631 and swatted 13 long balls in 176 turns at bat.
That kind of hitting can play anywhere on the field, but it’s all the more impressive for a catcher. That said, many question whether Collins can stick behind the dish as a professional. The assessments vary somewhat, but it seems safe to say that it’s far from certain that he’ll end up donning the gear at the major league level — let alone that he’ll be a quality receiver.
Collins himself believes in his ability behind the plate, though, as he told MLBTR contributor Chuck Wasserstrom a few months back. “Obviously, I’m an offensive catcher,” he said, “but I’m working on my defense a lot lately. I think I’ve gotten a lot better defensively … I’ve worked a lot on my blocking and receiving and throwing and footwork – all that kind of stuff. We actually have a new catching coach down here in Miami (Norberto Lopez), and he’s helped me a ton.”
Despite the defensive questions, Collins’ bat was good enough to draw top grades from prospect hounds. He ranked as high as 14th among draft-eligible prospects, in the eyes of MLB.com. And he also landed within the top twenty names listed by Baseball America and ESPN.com.