Name: Zach Collier
DOB: 9/8/90 (20 as of April 1, 2011)
Weight: 185 lbs
Drafted: 1st (supp.) round, 2008 ($1,020,000 bonus)
Pre Draft Report: Zach Collier was selected with the 34th overall pick in the 2008 draft out of Chino Hills High School in suburban Los Angeles, where he was a teammate of Chris Parmelee, the 20th overall pick in the ’06 draft. Collier was a Baseball America 2nd Team High School All-American after his senior year during which he hit .450 with 7 HR and 12 SB. In addition to his performance, Collier’s high school career was marked by his open heart surgery to correct an anomalous left coronary artery that was pinched and caused him to collapse after a practice in 2006. Following his recovery from surgery, Collier struggled the regain his stroke until he began working with former major leaguer Chris Gwynn. Collier then shined in workouts in front of scouts at the Urban Youth Academy in Los Angeles and shot up the draft board. Heading into the ’08 draft, Baseball America rated Collier as the 7th best prospect in California and the 22nd best prospect in the country. Its report noted above-average speed and projectable power, while also noting that as Collier matured physically, his average arm would make him more of a right fielder. It projected Collier going as high as the middle of the first round.
Career Synopsis: Collier began his career in the GCL and fared well as a 17-year old, posting a .271/.347/.357 and striking out 28 times and walking 17 times in 150 plate appearances. He logged time at all three outfield positions (although he did play LF more than CF and RF combined). Following the season, he participated in the Florida Instructional League. Heading into 2009, Collier was ranked as the Phillies #8 prospect by Baseball America. He was sent to Lakewood to begin the season and was one of the few prospects on that loaded roster not to take a step forward. He struggled to a .218/.275/.319 line, going homerless, and seeing his K/BB ratio balloon to 80/23 in 326 PAs. He was demoted to Williamsport where his struggles continued to the tune of .226/.280/.336 with 42 Ks and 9 BBs. Scouting reports pointed to a loss of the swing that got him drafted in the first place, along with the obvious lack of strike zone discipline. He again participated in the FIL following the season. BA knocked Collier down to #30 on its ranking list for 2010. Collier’s 2010 was a total loss, as he had spring surgery on his hamate, then suffered a small tear in his hand while rehabbing and had additional surgery in June that cost him the season.
Hit: Collier has a lot of what you want in a hitter, there is bat speed, and at times a solid approach. He really has struggled with making solid contact in 2013 and struggled to make contact in general against breaking balls. If he puts it all together he could be an average hitter in the long run, but there is a bit to go to get there. Additionally, his approach is good enough should put up a decent on base percentage as well.
Power: There is a surprising amount of pop in Collier’s bat. If he can make enough contact he could have a season where he hits 15 HRs, but he is more likely to be around 8-10 HRs in a season, with a decent amount of doubles and triples. 30/35
Speed: Speed is Collier’s main weapon. He is a plus plus runner home to first, and a good base stealer when he can get to first base. Additionally the speed has allowed him to consistently stretch out doubles to triples through out his career. 70
Glove: Collier is a plus defender in center field where he can use his speed to cover gap to gap. He can continue to refine his routes, but e can play all three outfield positions on the major league level right now. 60
Upside: Collier has slowly moved along through the minors with set backs for drug suspensions (Adderall) and injuries. He doesn’t flash a bunch of sexy tools and projection, but he has the skill set that fits as a good 4/5th outfielder for a major league team. If he can make enough contact he could be a major league regular who could provide solid CF defense and a decent lead off profile.
UPDATE: After reaching his high water mark in the Arizona Fall League following his 2012 season in Clearwater, Collier returned to mediocrity at Double A Reading for two seasons. He reached free agency after the 2014 season and went unsigned. Collier spent the 2015 season playing Independent ball for the Lancaster Barnstormers in the Atlantic League. (JP)