The White Sox are set to call up catcher Zack Collins from Triple-A, tweets Andy Slater of 640 The Hurricane radio. Collins is not on the Chicago 40-man roster, so they’ll need to make a corresponding move to clear room for him.
Collins, a 24-year-old catcher from the University of Miami, was a first-round pick (tenth overall) by the White Sox in 2016. MLB Pipeline regards Collins as the 11th-best prospect in the Chicago farm system, lauding his combination of power and on-base skills. Collins’s patience at the plate is perhaps his best trait, as he drew 101 bases on balls in 122 Double-A games last season, good for a 19% walk rate. MLB Pipeline also touts his “prodigious power to all fields,” with Collins hitting nine home runs in 48 games this season.
On the flip side, Collins’s patience in working counts has also translated to high strikeout totals in his professional career: in 1365 minor league plate appearances, Collins has produced a 29% strikeout rate. His struggles making contact have also produced low batting averages, though Collins’s skillset is such that he can be productive without hitting for a high average. Scouts are also skeptical his defense behind the plate, with MLB Pipeline suggesting that Collins “lacks soft hands and is a shaky receiver.”
This season, the White Sox have turned to James McCann and Welington Castillo to handle the catching duties. While McCann has been one of the most productive White Sox this season, the results have not been so promising for Castillo, who has produced a paltry .642 OPS this year and looks to be a candidate to be designated for assignment. It’s also notable that Yonder Alonso, who has been the team’s primary DH this year, has been largely unproductive for the South Siders, as he has mustered just a .591 OPS in 60 games.
Considering the concerns about Collins’s defensive ability behind the plate, there may be an opening for regular ABs as a designated hitter. However, if the White Sox are primarily concerned with Collins’s development, it may be most beneficial to give him every opportunity to prove his worth as a catcher before relegating him to DH. It remains to be seen just how often Collins will get reps at catcher, but the youth movement in Chicago is firmly underway, with Collins the latest prospect to join the MLB club.