Chicago White Sox top 10 prospects for 2019

BIRMINGHAM, AL - JUNE 19: Birmingham Barons Outfielder Eloy Jimenez looks on during the 2018 Southern League All-Star Game. The South All-Stars defeated the North All-Stars by the score of 9-5 at Regions Field in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
BIRMINGHAM, AL - JUNE 19: Birmingham Barons Outfielder Eloy Jimenez looks on during the 2018 Southern League All-Star Game. The South All-Stars defeated the North All-Stars by the score of 9-5 at Regions Field in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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BIRMINGHAM, AL – JUNE 19: Birmingham Barons catcher Zack Collins during the Home Run Derby of the 2018 Southern League All-Star Game. The South All-Stars defeated the North All-Stars by the score of 9-5 at Regions Field in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

8. Zack Collins, C

Birthday: 2/6/1995 (23)
Acquired: Draft, 1st round, 2016
Level(s): AA Birmingham
Statistics: .234/.382/.404, 122 G, 531 PA, 24 2B, 15 HR, 18.8% BB, 29.8% K

Zack Collins was drafted by the Chicago White Sox with the #10 overall pick in 2016 with knowledge of his bat coming out of the University of Miami, but there were significant concerns on his catching ability. The catching was definitely raw in his first full season in 2017, but his power was solid, so many let that slide.

In 2018, the White Sox did well by Collins by leaving him at AA all season as a host of pitchers that he opened the year with moved up, and he had to work with all new pitchers in the second half. Collins was instructed to work hard at presenting for his pitchers, and base runners knew it, so while the stolen base numbers look bad, it was primarily because opposing managers knew that Collins was focusing on other things and took advantage of that in games, so it’s not something to play against Collins. In fact, his arm is one of the few areas where Collins came into pro ball without questions.

The offensive profile is going to be annoying for a fantasy player, as Collins has some big holes in his swing, but he has tremendous zone recognition. If he could get his pitch recognition to the same level, he’d be an elite hitter because when he does recognize a pitch out of hand, he gets the barrel on the ball well, and he can generate big power with his swing.

Interestingly, he has a near-30% strikeout rate, but his zone recognition and bat speed actually keep that rate significantly lower than what his raw swing would be. He has big power, but his swing has a hitch and a hole in it as he comes through the zone that is exploited.

Collins has been played well by the Chicago White Sox, and he’ll be in AAA for all of 2019, and he should get a shot at the starting job in 2020.