Player Review/Preview: Zach Collier


February 18, 2013; Clearwater, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies left fielder Zach Collier (80) poses for a picture during photo day at Bright House Networks Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Collier

Age: 23 Born: September 8, 1990 in Long Beach, CA

Legend has it there were voices in the 2008 Phillies draft room wanting to pick Zach Collier over Anthony Hewitt.

If this is true then they were right, but only because Hewitt, the 24th overall pick, wasn’t worthy of the first round. The Phillies chose Collier in the first round (supplemental) at 34th overall but so far he hasn’t been worth his pick, either. While not a bust, he isn’t among the top 10 prospects in the Phillies middling farm system. His inclusion on the 40-man roster is not likely to last long and it isn’t likely another team will claim him if he is dropped.

The left-handed Collier was heavily scouted and well-regarded coming out of Chino Hills high school in Southern California. After inking Zach to deal with a $1,020,000 signing bonus, the Phillies aren’t quite ready to give up on him. Hopefully he’ll clear waivers and spend the season in AAA.

What Happened in 2013:

Collier has decent overall athleticism, though he isn’t a speed burner (17 SB / 6 CS in 2013 with AA Reading) and is adequate in center field. He doesn’t have a lot of power (8 HR), though he shows it in flashes. His bat makes a noticeable uppercut through the zone, which limits his hit tool. His 2013 campaign was mostly dismal and only a scalding hot August (.327 in 101 AB, .918 OPS, 5 3B) saved him from truly miserable overall numbers (.222 in 446 AB, .658 OPS and a SO% over 25%).

Coming into the 2013 season there was reason for hope. Despite a lackluster career up to this point, including wrist surgery in 2010 and a 50 game ban on his 21st birthday for a positive Adderall test, Collier was named to participate in the Arizona Fall League and flat-out raked for a .371/.461/.532 triple-slash in 62 AB. It was enough to restore his prospect status along with his confidence. By mid-summer all that momentum was gone.

What to Expect in 2014:

Collier has been given many chances to get his career going but fits and starts aren’t going to cut it. Since the suspension, Collier has received medical clearance to take the medication for ADHD, same as Shane Victorino, for example. The wrist and hamate have had plenty of time to heal.

Inconsistent, Collier has to try to keep his bat through the zone longer and use the gaps, not the fences. He needs to get on base more (.313 OBP) and improve his base stealing. A good month here and there won’t get him a starting job in the major leagues. If he cannot maintain defense as a center fielder his value drops immensely, since his bat doesn’t profile as a corner outfielder. Age, once on his side, will turn against him as a prospect after this pivotal 2014 season.

Will he step up or fade away?