So, If you haven’t heard of him yet, believe me you will. If you don’t know how tall he is bring a measuring tape, and if you knew how hard he threw you'd be afraid to play catch with him.
That’s how I’d describe Kansas City Royals left-handed pitching prospect Tim Collins—all 5’7”, 175 pounds of him and trust me that's being generous. Some would say he’s no taller then 5’5”.
Collins attended high school at Worcester technical High in Worcester, Massachusetts and comprised a record of 91-5 during his four years there. In his senior year, Collins threw a no-hitter in the district championship game.
Collins, now 21 years old, was discovered much by accident by former Toronto Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi . Ricciardi traveled to Worcester, his hometown, to watch 6’7” left-handed pitcher Keith Landers in an American Legion game, but Landers didn't end up pitching.
Instead, Collins did.
In the fourth inning, Tiny Tim Collins came out and faced 12 batters. He struck every single one of them out.
Ricciardi was impressed and Collins ended up throwing a bullpen session for a Blue Jays area scout, and three days later he was headed to Rookie League for his pro debut with a $10,000 signing bonus.
Not bad for a little guy who was never drafted, didn't attend college and was overlooked by major league scouts.
1,453 prospects were selected in the 50 rounds of the 2007 Major League Baseball draft, Collins wasn’t one of them.
When he came out for his first appearance, players on the opposing team were laughing as he warmed up. But when he threw a few high velocity fastballs right by the first batter and struck him out, Collins was getting the last laugh.
If Collins ends up making the Royals Major League roster he'll earn a significant increase in pay. The Major League minimum is $417,000.
“I’m told by a lot of people I’m too short,” stated Collins. “I have something to prove every time I go out there.”
From 2007-2009, Collins compiled 151.2 innings, a 2.37 ERA, 221 strikeouts and just 69 bases on balls for a 3.20 K/BB ratio. After 2009, Collins was named Toronto’s Postseason Minor League Player of the Year by MLB.com and Baseball America recognized him for having the best curveball in the the Blue Jays organization.
Collins finished 2010 with a 2.02 ERA, over 71.1 innings and 108 strikeouts. He walked just 62 in the last two years. In his four minor league seasons, Collins has struck out 329 batters in 223 innings. He was named the only relief pitcher by Baseball America to its 2010 Minor League All-Star team and The Sporting News selected him to its All-Minor League team.
He was also selected to play for team USA in the Pan Am Games in San Juan, Puerto Rico this past October, where Collins didn’t allow a run in the first nine games that team USA played in.
He's recently been selected by USA Today's Sports Weekly at No. 27 for 100 Names You Need to Know.
And just in case you're wondering, Collins touched 97 mph with his fastball on the stadium gun last year and has a mean curve ball. A far cry from the 82-84 he was throwing in 07' out of high school and he's only 21.
On July 14, 2010, Collins was traded to the Atlanta Braves, and then on July 31st, shortly before the trade deadline, Collins was traded, along with Jesse Chavez and Gregor Blanco, to the Kansas City Royals for Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth.
When hearing the deal, Baseball America’s Ben Badler tweeted: “When Tim Collins makes it to the big leagues, someone make sure to snap a picture of him standing next to Jason Heyward.”
Collins grew up a Red Sox fan. The Royals visit Boston's Fenway Park July 25-28 and Collins would love to take the mound in front of his family and friends. I know one thing: there will be a lot of people in the Boston area pulling for this little big man named Tim Collins.