I'm writing this article as a follow-up to MLB Prospects: Kansas City Royals' Tim Collins Pitching Taller Than He Really Is.
5' 7", 175-pound Tim Collins wasn't on the 40-man roster when camp opened up for the Kansas City Royals on February 14, in Surprise, AZ. In fact, Collins wasn't even drafted. Instead, he was a non roster spring training invitee.
He will, however, be on the team's opening day roster as Kansas City plays host to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Thursday.
Royals manager Ned Yost called Collins in to the office Sunday morning to let him know that he had made the opening day roster. Collins immediately called his mother Sandra and his father Larry back home in Worcester Mass to share the good news.
A unique story to say the least, he defied all odds in making the big leagues—to learn more about Collins' rise to the major leagues please follow this link.
Collins was acquired by the Royals on July 31, 2010 from Atlanta, along with pitcher Jesse Chavez and outfielder Gregor Blanco in a deal that sent pitcher Kyle Farnsworth and outfielder Rick Ankiel to the Braves.
That came after Collins had been shipped to the Braves by the Blue Jays in another trade. Collins fit in well with the Royals' Triple-A club at Omaha, posting a 1.33 ERA, two wins and four saves in 15 games. He struck out 108 batters in 71.1 innings last year.
Collins' fastball reaches in upwards of 95 mph and has touched 97 on the stadium gun, about 10-12 mph more then when he was signed back in 2007 at age 17 when he weighed about 145 pounds.
Collins has since worked hard to gain strength and put on weight, having been training with a program set up by trainer Eric Cressey, who's catered to Red Sox superstars including Curt Schilling and Kevin Youkilis at his gym, Cressey Performance in Hudson, Mass a short drive from Collins' home town of Worcester.
The Royals returned (LHP) Robert Fish, a Rule 5 guy, to the Angels to clear a 40-man spot for Collins. He and Robert Fish were the only two lefties in competition for bullpen spots.
Rule 5 provisions mean Fish must remain in the big leagues for the entire season or be offered back to his former club. While there are notable exceptions—Joakim Soria for example, (ironically the closer Collins will be setting up for)—few Rule 5 picks make it.
Collins had an impressive spring training, through nine games, Collins has pitched 10.1 innings with a 2.61 ERA and 12 strikeouts, including a scoreless ninth versus the Diamondbacks on Saturday for the save.
Collins throws unusually hard for a pitcher that's 5' 7" and his delivery makes it difficult for batters to follow and pick up on the ball.
Collins will earn a significant pay increase from the construction job he was derailed from before being discovered. He will earn a reported $417,000, which is the major league minimum.
His breaking in to the big leagues makes Collins one of the smallest and youngest players currently in the majors, sure to be a fan favorite.
It's a dream come true and an inspiration to young players yearning to play in the big leagues.