After a nice run in Spring Training, Detroit Tigers prospect Tyler Collins was rewarded with a spot on the team’s Opening Day roster, which was in part made possible by the injury to Andy Dirks. However, his stint with the Tigers did not last for very long, as he was sent down to Triple-A Toledo after receiving only 14 at-bats.
Since going down to the minors, Collins has been experiencing his ups and downs, but he has been swinging a hot bat as of late, hitting .324/.386/.514 with a pair of home runs and seven RBIs in his last 10 games. His recent hot-streak has raised his season line to .251/.314/.411 with nine home runs and 34 RBIs. He has also stolen seven bases, proving that he possesses the rare combination of speed and power.
Recently, there has been quite a bit of buzz about how well Tigers farmhand Ezequiel Carrera has been playing for Toledo, and rightfully so, but Collins is showing that we shouldn’t forget about him, either.
The fact that Collins is a left-handed hitter who can hit for power is going to make him a very interesting prospect to watch going forward. Throughout the entire season, the Tigers have only had one consistent threat from the left side of the plate, which would be the switch-hitting Victor Martinez.
The Tigers are hoping to get the left-handed Dirks back in a month’s time or less, but it remains to be seen what he will give the Tigers after being out of commission since early March. Dirks also had a rather disappointing season in 2013, but he had a stellar 2012 campaign in which he hit .322 in 88 games. If Dirks comes back and performs poorly, it is probably not a stretch to think that it could have an effect on his future with the Tigers organization, given how well J.D. Martinez has been playing in addition to the fact that he has prospects such as Collins, Daniel Fields and Steven Moya on his tail.
As a matter of fact, it should be very interesting to see what the Tigers’ outfield situation looks like in Spring Training of 2015, regardless of what happens with Dirks. It should be noted that Austin Jackson and free-agent-to-be Torii Hunter have each been scuffling to a certain extent, and some are beginning to doubt that the Tigers will re-sign Hunter at the end of the season due to his age and declining defense. Jackson will be a free agent after 2015, so the Tigers will need to make a decision on his future rather soon as well.
Next spring is still a ways off and there is a lot that could happen, but there may very well be a spot in the outfield for Collins to compete for if the Tigers believe he can give them some much-needed left-handed thunder.