White Sox prospect Collins revisits swing

Catcher was 10th overall Draft pick in 2016, reached Double-A this year

November 10th, 2017
Zack Collins posted a .224 batting average this year, hitting 19 home runs between Class A Advanced and Double-A. (Ken Inness/MiLB.com)

CHICAGO -- For a good part of September and October, Zack Collins -- the No. 7 White Sox prospect and their catcher of the future -- was making adjustments to his swing during instructional league action in Arizona.

What were these tweaks exactly?

"I'd rather not say," Collins said during a recent interview. "Just trying to get better every day and hitting the ball square.

"We've looked at video, and there's definitely a difference. It's definitely been good for me to come out here. Definitely worth my time."

Top 30 White Sox prospects

Collins, 22, was the top White Sox pick in the 2016 Draft at No. 10 overall, selected out of the University of Miami. He came into professional baseball known as a well-rounded hitter, and despite a .224 average between stops at Class A Advanced Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham this year, he finished with 19 home runs, 53 RBIs, 70 runs scored, a .370 on-base percentage and an .816 OPS.

Changing an offensive approach during the course of a season becomes a tough proposition with daily competition. So Collins' focus was his swing and not so much game results in making the season-ending trip to Arizona.

"We just want to get him in a position to be able to make a good decision, a good pass at the ball. Just an adjustment," White Sox director of player development Chris Getz said. "Zack has come out with a great mindset. He's had purpose every single day."

"I tried a bit during the season, and it wasn't working just because numbers factor into it and winning matters," Collins said. "[At instructional ball], there's really no pressure. I just go out there and can try things out. If I strike out or hit a home run, neither one matters. It definitely helps."

Minor League hitting coordinator Mike Gellinger, who played an important part on the 2005 World Series champion club as hitting coach Greg Walker's assistant, worked with Collins during instructional action. Collins "trusts everything" Gellinger has to offer in terms of advice.

The change wasn't anything close to an overhaul but more about improving balance before the left-handed hitter executes his swing, giving Collins confidence and making his new swing second nature by Spring Training.

"His swing, for the most part, he makes a few moves with his hands that we just calmed down," Gellinger said. "He's more under control with his body. He's putting himself in better position to take a swing that he wants to take.

"The reason he is who he is, is because some of the things that he does, and we don't want to take that away from him. Sometimes in order to pull off big moves with the bat you've got to feel strong every day, and by simplifying things you get away with a little bit more."