Draft Prospect Watch: New Name Moving Up the Charts for Pirates?

There are about nine weeks left before the first day of the 2022 MLB draft, meaning that we still have plenty of time to look at top draft options for the Pittsburgh Pirates, who select fourth overall. A lot could change between now and then, so the plan is to look at all of the players who rank around where the Pirates select. We recently started our Draft Prospect Watch articles, where we look at a new player each Sunday. Our first choice was Druw Jones. The next Sunday we looked at Elijah Green. That was followed by Jackson Holliday, who moved up some draft charts recently. Last week we went with Termarr Johnson, who has been on the radar all season for the fourth overall pick. This week is a name that has been linked to the Pirates recently.

Cam Collier from Chipola JC, is a 17-year-old third baseman, whose father Lou Collier might be a familiar name to most Pirates fans. The older Collier was a member of the 1997-98 Pirates, and he played a total of eight years in the majors. Cam Collier was not on my list of players to profile here because he was usually ranked in the 15-20 area of the draft prospects lists. He was in my “keep an eye on” column, but things changed on Thursday when Kyle Glaser from Baseball America connected Collier to the Pirates in a draft buzz article. Collier appeared to be in that tweener area for the Pirates. Not good enough for their fourth overall pick, but too good to even hope he’s around when they pick 36th overall.

Since BA reported the connection, here’s what they have to say about Collier. I’ll note that the one thing I heard about him before he was connected to the Pirates was that people like that he was a 17-year-old doing well at a Junior College school known for its baseball program. He’s an athletic/strong, 6’1″, 219 pounds, with skills on both sides of the ball, though BA leaves a lot of room for his floor-to-ceiling, because it seems like not all scouts are sold on him. He has a line drive swing from the left side, using the entire field, with some nice raw power. He makes good contact already, but it’s not a consistent hard contact approach yet. He has a strong arm at third base and shows signs of being able to stick at the position. Some scouts believe he could end up at first base though. The best case is that you get a high OBP guy with some power at third base, while the worst case is average OBP guy because he doesn’t make enough hard contact, with mediocre power at first base. He’s the same age as some high school juniors for next year’s draft, so you expect some risk vs reward here. He’s got a college commitment to Louisville.

Switching gears to MLB Pipeline, they have Collier as a 60-grade for hitting and arm, with 50 grades for everything else. That’s basically how BA described him, but there is one difference in how they got to their numbers. Pipeline praises his ability to make contact and his strong bat speed, though they note that he has been doing a good job of squaring up balls this year, while doing well against premium velocity, so that’s a bit better sounding for Collier than the BA report. Pipeline also has the same potential move from third base in their scouting report, noting that he has the arm strength, but he may end up at a different corner spot. This report basically just sounds like he has a little less risk than BA, so I decided to look for a third report.

Kiley McDaniel from ESPN is slightly higher on Collier than the other two sources, but he didn’t have anything that could help with the differences in reports, only noting that he has done well against older players. Maybe the higher ranks does lean towards the Pipeline report, but no real details there. Keith Law pushed Collier all the way up to #2 on his draft board, with the same report about doing well against older players. However, he believes Collier is sticking at third base, so that could factor into his higher ranking. If there’s no chance of him moving to where his bat needs to play better, then you’re taking away some of the risk associated with the player. Fangraphs has him rated down at #25, though they said he could be a plus defender at third base, while also noting that he had some issues squaring up pitches, similar to the BA report.

As you might expect with all of these sources, there’s a lot of input from scouts, so it’s really a matter of which scouts they talk to and how much they actually see of the hundreds of potential top draft picks worth mentioning. My favorite way to look at it is to just average out what people are saying, which is hard here because the defense is really split BUT none of the sources question the ability to hit. The difference maker at the plate here is whether there will be game power. In this instance, you can expect that if the Pirates do select him, they see a third baseman with power. Otherwise he doesn’t really fit into the fourth spot in this draft class.

Here are some videos, starting with this great one from Kyler Peterson, getting plenty of game footage from multiple games earlier this year.

Prospects Live has game footage as well from a short time later

PROSPECT WATCH

DAILY VIDEO RUNDOWN

PIRATES DISCUSSION

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CTBucco

Too much of a risk to take Collier at 4th. Maybe he ends up the best player, but his floor is still pretty low. If we can’t get one of Jones, Green, or Johnson (and maybe Holliday), then I’d go with Parada at this point.

Danatural08

Awesome, I’m not alone in banging the Parada drum. Dude is a stud with the bat, can’t have enough guys that can absolutely rake.

The way Tank Davis is a baseball magnet, getting plunked on the reg, could always move one of the 2 out of the Catcher position. Or rotate the 2 through the DH position.

jeffw3000

I agree. He is too much of a risk at 4. I am hoping one of Jones, Green, or Johnson is there when we pick. I could probably live with Holliday as well. I do not think the Pirates would pick Parada, as I would really be surprised if they were to take a catcher again in the first round. That would send mixed messages.

CTBucco

I think that between C, DH, and 1B (since Martin is no sure thing), there would be plenty of ABs for Davis and Parada if we are lucky enough that both become productive MLers.

joesolo6181

I like his size and the fact that he is holding his own as a 17 year old in JC.

steve_zielinski

No games this year. Pick the best available player with the fourth pick. I would not expect the player taken would want to give the Pirates a discount because five players can look forward to being the 1-1 pick: Jones, Johnson, Green, Lee, Holiday. To that we can add Collier. So, this class is deep.

Taking Lesko fourth and offering him late first round money does not make sense when there are healthy players who could be stars.

steelforce71

Please made a friendly deal with Lasko!! He is a stud even with injury and use saving elsewhere!!

ArkyWags

Hard no on a guy who is already busted in the top 5.

joebaseball

SO if he plays third where does Hayes go? Pitching seems to be the big weakness so what pitchers are interesting around the Bucs picks?

jeffw3000

With Lesko out there really are no pitchers in the top 10 this year. Lesko would have been a possibility, but not after Tommy John.

ArkyWags

That’s a “five year from now problem,” at least. If he’s awesome and so is Hayes, isn’t that a good problem to have? No pitchers look good in the top five or maybe even 10. Likely a bunch in the range with their second and third picks.

joesolo6181

Will the international players signed this January be able to play in the DSL when the games start in a few weeks?

Last edited 1 month ago by joesolo6181
kja1970

Yes they will play

kja1970

From John’s most recent article

“ All three players here will be playing during this current season.”

Wilbur Miller

Detractors are skeptical (Collier’s) swing will work against better competition and question his pitch recognition.

Scary.

Danatural08

Ya his hand load needs reworked, as he pulls it back behind his toe line (vertical line from tips of toes), which means he’ll have trouble catching up to high velo. Not worth it at #4 IMO

Good size & lefty swing for IF is nice tho

ArkyWags

They could really say that about anyone at that age. Let alone a guy who is playing in JC at a really young age.

emjayinTN

Playing at not just a JUCO, but at one of the best JUCO Baseball Programs in the Southeast at the equivalent age of a HS Junior. Kids who play at Chipola (FL), Walters State (TN), Florence-Darlington (SC), Miami Dade (FL), and others in AL and Texas are ballplayers.

Collier will be 17.6 years old on the day of the draft in a year where a Top 25 HS player in the draft will average about 18.8 years old. In a Prep Baseball Report in 2020 he was rated as the top 2023 prospect in Georgia (Mt Paran, HS) and the projected #4 Prospect in the country. I liked the video where he hit the oppo HR. Not a finished product by any means, but getting a free year of development?

roberto

Since multiple analysts have him in the first half of the first round, it makes the 2022 draft scary.

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