Back in February, I wrote an article in which I suggested that Tyler Collins might be a dark horse to make the Detroit Tigers‘ Opening Day roster. Collins is a left-handed hitter with speed and power, and therefore I thought that he might open a few eyes in camp as those are two qualities I thought that the team would find to be intriguing.
After Andy Dirks was injured, the probability of Collins making the team grew even higher, and low and behold, he did end up making the club to help out in left field over the Tigers’ other in-house candidates such as Daniel Fields, Ezequiel Carrera and Trevor Crowe. The addition of Collins gives the Tigers a total of five position players who can hit from the left side of the plate on their 25-man roster.
Collins did not start yesterday on Opening Day, but Tigers fans got their first glimpse of him when manager Brad Ausmus inserted him as a pinch-runner in the bottom of the ninth inning to replace Alex Avila after he had drawn a walk. The speedy Collins would make his way to third base on a single by Nick Castellanos and eventually made it home on a single by Alex Gonzalez to score the game’s winning run. He has now started his career off on a very high note, and his exciting performance on the base-paths yesterday may be a sign of things to come.
Collins hit 21 home runs last season for Double-A Erie, and the season before that he stole 20 bases while playing for High-A Lakeland. If he can eventually accomplish both of those feats in the same season at the big league level and be a 20-20 man, he is certainly going to be an electrifying player to watch.
Everyone knows that Collins has the ability to drive the ball, but the biggest question people have about him is whether or not he will be able to find consistency as he hit just .241 in Spring Training and .240 last season in Double-A. However, he has shown signs that he could potentially hit for a higher average at the professional level as he hit .260 in the Arizona Fall League this past offseason and hit .290 in Lakeland in 2012. He also hit as high as .313 back in 2011 while splitting time between Low-A Connecticut and Rookie Ball.
At any rate, it is very evident that Collins possesses a lot of raw talent, and he should certainly provide the Tigers with plenty of thrilling moments over the next few months. He may just end up being the spark that makes the Tigers go.