CHICAGO -- Zack Collins had every Major League Baseball team's cap ready, courtesy of his girlfriend, at his 2016 MLB Draft party Thursday night.Would it be the Padres? Marlins? Tigers?No. his winning selection was the White Sox, who selected the first-team All-American catcher from the University of Miami with the
CHICAGO -- Zack Collins had every Major League Baseball team's cap ready, courtesy of his girlfriend, at his 2016 MLB Draft party Thursday night.
Would it be the Padres? Marlins? Tigers?
No. his winning selection was the White Sox, who selected the first-team All-American catcher from the University of Miami with the 10th overall pick.
• No. 26 overall: Zack Burdi
• No. 49 overall: Alec Hansen
"It's hard to explain," said Collins via conference call of the White Sox taking him. "My dad was crying tears before I was. I started hugging everybody. It's probably one of the best feelings I've ever had, especially in my baseball career. It's an amazing honor to be drafted."
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The 21-year-old left-handed hitter has a .358 average with 13 home runs and 53 RBIs this season for the Hurricanes. His approach at the plate is considered one of the best at the collegiate level.
A .534 on-base percentage, .631 slugging percentage and 69 walks vs. 48 strikeouts would back up that assessment. The catching side of Collins' repertoire doesn't get quite the same plaudits, but White Sox director of amateur scouting Nick Hostetler has no doubt Collins can stick behind the plate.
"He's going to be a catcher. We evaluated him as a catcher," said Hostetler, who had numerous members of the White Sox front office check out Collins in action. "We feel he's going to be a middle-of-the-order impact bat. Solid catch-and-throw guy. There's no question to anyone in that room that he can catch."
"You can always improve, defense or hitting or whatever," Collins said. "That's how you become the best player you can be."
Miami plays Boston College on Friday in the Coral Gables Super Regional, competition that will quickly take his focus after the Draft celebration. It's an exciting time for the young man, whose slot value at No. 10 is $3,380,600, but it's just as exciting for the White Sox.
"I'm very excited to hopefully win a national championship coming up soon and get my professional baseball career going," Collins said.
"Couldn't be happier," Hostetler said. "I couldn't tell you how excited that room is right now. I think we took three impact players."
University of Louisville ight-hander Zack Burdi was taken at No. 26 by the White Sox. Right-hander Alec Hansen completed the day for the South Siders when he was selected at No. 49 out of the University of Oklahoma.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura was the team's last pick at No. 10 in 1988. Mark Johnson was the last catcher taken by the White Sox in the first round in 1994. Collins stands as a finalist for the Johnny Bench Award and a semifinalist for the USA Baseball Golden Spikes and Dick Howser Awards.
"Great plate discipline. Understands the strike zone as well as anybody, more walks than strikeouts," Hostetler said. "Big, big raw power. This is something we've been looking for for a long time in our organization and we think we found it today."
The Draft continues on Friday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 11:30 a.m. CT, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 3-10 beginning at noon CT.
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.