Zack Collins’ girlfriend had 30 hats ready for him on Thursday, one for each of the teams that could have possibly called his name in the first round of the MLB draft.
It turns out black and white worked just fine.
The Chicago White Sox selected Collins, a lighthearted catcher with an affinity for power hitting, with the 10th overall pick of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. The slot value for the 10th overall pick is $3,380,600.
“It’s a fun time,” Collins said on MLB.com’s draft broadcast while friends and family cheered behind him.
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Collins is the University of Miami’s 14th first-round draft pick in program history and the first top-10 selection since Yonder Alonso was taken by the Cincinnati Reds with the seventh overall pick in 2008.
“He’s the classic guy that you learn from on the field, just the way he approaches the game,” said UM sophomore pitcher Michael Mediavilla, who has known Collins since he was 8 years old. “He’s a guy that you want to be with.”
Collins, a 6-3, 220-pound left-handed hitter, entered Thursday as the No. 16 draft prospect on Baseball America’s draft board. He was also the top-ranked catcher.
“I really like Zack Collins. I like his bat. I think his bat’s going to play in the big leagues,” MLB analyst Sean Casey said. “He has gap-to-gap power. He has real good barrel awareness, but I think one thing I like about him is his advanced approach at the plate.”
Heading into Friday’s super regional opener against Boston College with a spot in the College World Series on the line, Collins is batting a career-high .358 this season and has a nation-leading 69 walks — tied for the fifth-most in a season in UM history.
And despite being pitched around for most of the season, Collins still has belted out a team-best 13 home runs, breaking the double-digit homer barrier for the third consecutive season.
Behind the plate, Collins has recorded just eight errors in his three-year career while catching 22 baserunners who attempted to steal a base.
“I’ve been able to work on my hitting and work on my defense,” Collins said. “I think I’ve become more mature and more of a leader.”
He’s earned All-America honors in each of his three seasons, culminating with a first-team nod by Baseball America this year.
“When he was named the freshman of the year, that kind of put a label on him as a player that you don’t let this guy beat you,” UM coach Jim Morris said. “He’s handled that very well.”
Mediavilla added: “On the field, he’s going to be a leader, just the way he approaches the game. Off the field, he’s going to be the guy that brings joy to any locker room and makes everything a great time.”
That was evident after practice ended on Tuesday afternoon. As the rest of UM’s team retreated to the clubhouse, Collins made his way to right field.
Joined by teammates Ryan Guerra and Bryan Garcia, Collins set a remote-controlled airplane on the grass in the shallow outfield and began to fly.
Collins maneuvered the aircraft around Mark Light Field for about five minutes before the field’s sprinklers dampened the moment.
“Because it’s fun,” Collins said. “Just like baseball’s fun for me.”
The three-day, 40-round draft will continue with rounds 3-10 at 1 p.m. Friday and concludes with the final 30 rounds beginning at noon Saturday.