Tyler Collins | Outfield | #72
2014 salary: League minimum
2013 statistics: .240/.323/.438, 21 HR, 29 2B, 0 3B, 4 SB, 51 BB, 122 K (in AA Erie)
Projected role: Toledo LF
Collins, a 6th round draft pick out of Howard College in 2011, posted decent numbers in his first full season at AA Erie. While he didn’t hit for average, he did show he could hit for power—Collins slugged 21 homers and hit 29 doubles—and get on base at an average rate. He struck out a lot, which can be expected from a power hitter, and didn’t walk much; it’s clear he’s not quite ready for the Majors just yet. Jordan Gorosh of TigersProspects rates Collins here as a fourth outfielder/bench type who will have to refine his approach at the plate if he’s to have any success at the MLB level.
Normally, I’d guess someone like Collins will get a chance to start in Toledo everyday, but the Tigers’ lack of an obvious platoon partner for Rajai Davis, with Andy Dirks out until June, makes Collins’ spring training that much more interesting. Collins has held his own against Triple A quality competition so far this spring, putting up decent numbers. Through 16 games, the left-hander put up a .286/.359/.714. line with 3 homers, 2 doubles, and 3 triples.
Despite some superficial similarities, Collins is not an Andy Dirks clone. When healthy, Dirks is probably the better overall player on both offense and defense. Collins will probably hit for more power and strike out a lot more. It would certainly be foolish to throw Collins into left field this season and expect him to match Dirks defensively.
ZIPS projects Collins, in 125 games, to be roughly a replacement level player (0.7 WAR). Davis, the other half of the left field platoon, is also projected to be about replacement level, with a 0.5 WAR. Collins likely isn’t the answer in left field this year; if he continue to progress in Toledo, however, he could get a look by mid-season, or September.
And thus ends this year’s edition of 30 Tigers in 30 Days.