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2016 MLB Draft: Zack Collins, C, University of Miami-Florida

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Zack Collins
Zack Collins
Joel Auerbach, Getty Images

If you are looking for a power/patience bat in the 2016 MLB Draft, look no further than University of Miami Hurricanes catcher Zack Collins. Viewed as a borderline first round pick pre-season, his excellent spring has solidified a spot in the first round, although where, exactly, depends on what you think of his glove.

Coming out of American Heritage High School in Plantation, Florida, Collins had one of the best high school bats in the 2013 class but was strongly committed to the University of Miami-Florida. A second-round type on talent, he fell to the 27th round (drafted by the Reds) due to doubtful signabiity. He obviously didn't sign and went to college, seizing a regular job as a freshman with a .298/.427/.556 line with 11 homers and 42 walks in 205 at-bats. He followed up with a .302/.445/.587 line as a sophomore, and this spring is even better at .392/.559/.662.

Collins has played 170 games in his college career, just over one full season in MLB notation, hitting a combined .321/.467/.593 with 36 doubles, 35 homers, 151 walks, and 141 strikeouts in 577 at-bats.

Nobody thinks this is a metal bat fluke. Collins is universally praised for his hitting approach. His strike zone judgment is excellent and he has a combination of bat speed, selectivity, and aggression-when-needed that will stand him in good stead in pro ball. He should be expected to produce high on-base percentages and (at a minimum) above-average power. He probably won't need much time to adjust to pro pitching and could get to the majors quickly on the strength of the bat.

That sounds like a certain first-rounder, and it is, but the uncertainty about Collins comes from his glove. He has a decent throwing arm, good enough to catch if he's polished enough, but his mobility behind the plate is nothing special and his throwing against baserunners needs work; he's caught just 26% this year. He isn't a butcher and has given up just two passed balls this spring, but in general his quickness behind the plate is questioned and not everyone believes he can catch in the long run. He may wind up ultimately at first base.

A team that believes in Collins as a catcher would likely rate him as a top ten pick, perhaps even top five. Even clubs that view him as a first baseman could still pick him that soon since this should be an impact bat. As things shake out over the next few weeks, we should get a better read on how teams assess Collins' glove.

Keep in mind that he doesn't have to be a gold glove catcher. If he projects as even adequate behind the plate, someone will bite early.

Here are a pair of very recent videos from Matt Czechanski highlighting Collins' selectivity.