Major League Baseball Draft

American Heritage catcher Zach Collins offers tantalizing package of power and discipline at catcher


Zach Collins of Plantation American Heritage offers a tantalizing package of power and discipline from behind the plate.

Special to The Miami Herald

There’s a simple reason Plantation American Heritage’s Zach Collins is South Florida’s top MLB draft prospect this year.

“It’s not that often teams can find an elite catcher with his bat speed and home run power from the left side of the plate,” Heritage coach Bruce Aven said. “They just aren’t out there.”

Collins, who figures to get selected in the first three rounds, is ranked by Baseball America as the 112th best prospect in the draft.

However, Baseball America’s scouting report said “scouts aren’t sold on [Collins] as a catcher,” which is why he is also listed as a first baseman.

Collins admits that scouts were once split “50-50” as to whether he could stay at catcher, where his power bat would have much more value than at first base.

But, Collins said, those doubts have since evaporated.

“I worked with Yasmani Grandal the past two years, and he taught me a lot,” Collins said of the former University of Miami catcher who plays for the San Diego Padres. “Now, 100 percent of the scouts like me as a catcher.”

Collins, a 6-2, 220-pounder, has worked out for about 15 major-league organizations. The workouts usually consist of Collins taking batting practice, throwing to second from behind the plate and handling interview-type questions.

“It’s nerve-wracking,” Collins said. “I’m trying to stay calm.”

Collins, who has a 3.7 grade-point average, has a baseball scholarship to the University of Miami.

If he doesn’t like the signing bonus offered, Collins could be playing — and likely starting — for the Canes next year.

He certainly has the credentials.

In 2011, he led USA Baseball’s 16-under team to a gold medal at the World Youth Championships in Mexico, earning MVP honors.

Last year, he led Heritage to a state championship.

This year, the Patriots opened the playoffs with four consecutive victories, beating their opponents by a combined total of 48-0. But Heritage was eliminated by Estero, 3-2, in a Class 5A regional final.

Collins hit .388 with seven doubles, one triple, five homers and 31 RBI as the Patriots lost their first and last games of the season but went 25-1 in between.

And although his numbers were strong, Collins said he struggled early, which can happen when 25 scouts are watching you play.

Collins also had to make an adjustment at the plate because pitchers — aware of his power — gave him few if any pitches to hit.

“They were pitching to him like he was Babe Ruth,” said Aven, who moved him to second so he could get on base more often.

To his credit, Collins did not chase many pitches. He had an on-base percentage of .533 and had more walks (23) than strikeouts (22).

That type of patience is yet another reason why Collins is this region’s best prospect.

Read more Broward High Schools stories from the Miami Herald

  • Roundup

    Two Cooper City athletes sign with colleges

    Cooper City pitcher and first baseman Johnny Haney signed a scholarship with the Point Park University (Pittsburgh) baseball team. The left-hander is 6-0 so far this season with 31 strikeouts, three complete games and 1.28 ERA. He is hitting .317 with a homerun, 13 RBI and 16 runs scored.

Kristi Isabelle, a home schooled senior representing the South Florida HEAT Team, won the 300m hurdle during the Region 4-1A track meet on Thursday, Apr. 17, 2014, at Killian.

    Track and field

    Westminster’s James achieves rare sprint triple at regionals

    Westminster Academy’s Andrew James showed the Region 4-1A field at Dade Christian why he’s become one of the biggest box office draws in Florida.

  • Water Polo

    STA sweeps to district titles

    Anna Smith-Johnson scored three goals as St. Thomas Aquinas put a halt to Fort Lauderdale’s improbable turnaround season in Thursday’s District 10 title game at Fort Lauderdale.

Get your Miami Heat Fan Gear!

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category