Third baseman Collier continues to 'test himself'

July 18th, 2022

The Reds selected Cam Collier with the No. 18 overall pick in the 2022 Draft. Here's a deeper look at Collier that was first published on in the weeks leading up to the Draft.

Cam Collier has been testing himself for years now.

At age 14, Collier moved from Chicago to the amateur baseball hotbed of Atlanta, where his older sister, Morgan, had enrolled at Spelman College.

The following year, after the COVID-19 pandemic halted Collier’s first season of high school baseball, he began training with older players. One of them, Braves rookie standout Michael Harris II, has become Cam’s close friend.

As a sophomore in 2021, Collier starred at the plate and on the mound as Mount Paran Christian School defeated Druw Jones-led Wesleyan School for Georgia’s Class A private school state championship.

Instead of returning to Mount Paran for his junior season, Collier graduated early and enrolled at Chipola Junior College. He was one of the team’s top hitters as a 17-year-old third baseman, posting a .956 OPS over 52 games.

Even that wasn’t enough for him. Not content with the extraordinary season at Chipola, Collier tested himself against the best amateur talent in the country by playing nine games for the Cotuit Kettleers of the Cape Cod League. Collier, who doesn’t turn 18 until Nov. 20, is the second-youngest player in Cape Cod League history after Robert Stock in 2007, according to league historian Mike Richard.

“The biggest takeaway for me was facing the Friday, Saturday and Sunday starters on the top college teams, and seeing the top college hitters up close,” Collier said. “I loved watching how they operate. I got a feel for what the Minor Leagues are like. There were a lot of fans there. The whole experience helped me improve a lot, getting my swing more on time and shortening it up even more.”

Notice a trend? Whenever Collier thrives -- which he does frequently -- he immediately sets his sights on the next challenge. This month, that means boarding a flight to Los Angeles and the 2022 MLB Draft, where he could be selected early in the first round.

Collier traveled from Cotuit to the MLB Draft Combine in San Diego last month, an experience he described as “life-changing.” He said he loved meeting with MLB club officials, getting to know fellow prospects, and going through the physical testing program.

Talented position players from Georgia are a major theme in this Draft. Along with Collier, infielder Termarr Johnson of Mays High School in Atlanta and Jones (son of 10-time Gold Glove winner Andruw) are also among the top players.

Collier is younger than Jones and Johnson, both of whom are 18. Collier played travel baseball with Johnson during the summer of 2019, and Collier and Jones have strong respect for one another after their memorable matchups in last year’s state championship series. (For the record, Jones went 1-for-2 against Collier in last year’s state final.)

“They’re really good people and baseball players, on and off the field, and they’re great mentors to people around them,” Collier said of Johnson and Jones.

Collier grew up as a middle infielder, but he has found a home at third base, where he feels comfortable ranging to his left and unleashing his above-average arm strength. Defensive ability runs in the family: Collier’s father, Lou, started games at shortstop, left field, third base, center field and second base while playing for the Pirates, Brewers, Expos, Red Sox and Phillies from 1997 through 2004.

Lou’s final Major League game was Sept. 30, 2004, less than two months before Cam’s birth.

“He’s talked about the importance of staying confident, trusting in your ability, and not listening to all of the opinions about what you should or shouldn’t do,” Cam said. “I always trust in what he’s saying, because he has the highest knowledge possible. One of the biggest things he’s taught me is the importance of finding things out for myself.”

Lou Collier was a 31st-round pick from Kishwaukee College in Malta, Ill., in the 1992 MLB Draft. He signed with the Pirates as a Draft-and-follow player after the ’93 season at Triton College in River Grove, Ill.

Three decades later, the Draft rules are different. The attention on prospects is greater than ever. And Cam Collier won’t wait until a 31st round -- or even the second -- to hear his name called on July 17.