Tigers Prospect Profile #17: Tommy Collier

Collier shined in 2012 at West Michigan

Another one of those players that has flown under the radar since being selected in a later round of the 2011 draft, Tommy Collier has posted two impressive seasons to start his pro career, and has put himself in position to be one of the top starting pitching prospects in the organization.

Thomas Collier
Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Height: 6-2
Weight: 205
Born: 12/3/1989
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Acquired: 2011 MLB Draft, 22nd Round
Ranking History: #31 (2011)

Background
After being drafted previously by the Brewers and Blue Jays, Collier finally signed after the Tigers took him in the 22nd round in 2011. After signing, the 21-year old Collier had no trouble with the short-season New York-Penn League, posting a 1.85 ERA in seven starts. He allowed just 28 hits and ten walks in 39 innings, while striking out 35 hitters.

The Tigers pushed Collier to Low-A West Michigan in 2012 and he started 24 games for the Whitecaps, logging 124 2/3 innings along the way. Collier allowed only 112 hits and 37 walks while striking out 84 batters en route to a 2.74 ERA.

Scouting Report
Collier is physically mature with a good pitcher's frame and excellent strength. He is a solid athlete that moves well off the mound and works hard to maintain his conditioning and stamina.

Collier's bread and butter is a two-seam sinking fastball that sits in the 89-82 mph range and has touched 93 mph on occasion. I have seen him push his four-seam fastball up to 94 mph at times, but he rarely throws the pitch in most outings. He generates good angle to the plate on his sinker with a high three-quarter arm slot, helping induce weak contact when kept low in the zone.

He backs up the sinker with a slider and change-up that both have flashed potential. Collier's slider was previously a legit plus pitch with plus-plus potential but he has backed off and doesn't spin it as well as he did prior to his elbow surgery.

The change-up has stepped forward and earns above-average grades from scouts. He sells the pitch with good arm speed and he has good sink on it as well.

Without his slider, Collier has lost the ability to consistently avoid contact. Instead, he relies on the movement of his sinker and change-up to induce groundballs. He throws tons of strikes with a very good control profile, and at times he shows average big-league command, with projection for more as he polishes his game.

Collier doesn't have a sexy profile on the mound but he has a profile that could lead to a big-league career. His sinker and change-up are both above-average pitches overall and while his slider is fringy, it works well enough to give hitters a little different two-plane look.

With continued improvement in his command, Collier could profile as a number four or five starter.

Performance

Level

Team

W-L

ERA

G

GS

SV

SO

BB

IP

BAA

A

West Michigan

9-8

2.74

24

24

0

84

37

124.2

.247


Health Record
Collier went under the knife for Tommy John surgery in 2010 and was handled with kid-gloves in his 2011 professional debut. The Tigers rarely let him go more than five innings in his full-season debut in 2012 and he should be expected to see an up-tick in his workload in 2013.

Projection
There isn't much projection remaining for Collier. He is physically mature, doesn't need much in the way of grade jumps to realize the potential on each of his pitches, and his control profile is already advanced. Collier needs a little polish as he moves through High-A and the upper minors and he could be ready to pitch at the back of a big-league rotation sometime in 2014.

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