Team USA Hitters: Part Three

Miami C/1B Zack Collins

Kiley shares video and reports of more of the top hitters from college Team USA.

2015/2016 MLB Draft Showcase Season (June/July 2014): PG Jr National Pitchers (2016 prep class), PG Jr National Hitters (2016/17), PG National Overview (2015), Team USA Overview (2015/16), Team USA Pitchers Pt I (2015), Team USA Pitchers Pt II (2015), Team USA Pitchers Pt III (2015/16), Team USA Hitters Pt I (2015), Team USA Hitters Pt II (2015) & Team USA Hitters Pt III (2015/16)

2015/2016 MLB Draft Rankings (May 2014): 2015 College, 2016 College & 2015-16 High School

2014 MLB Draft Reactions: Day One Live Blog

2014 MLB Draft Rankings: The Draft Board

2014 MLB Draft Podcast: Jim Callis


Taylor Ward, C, Fresno State

The 6'2/185 Ward took over the everyday catching job for Fresno late last spring and the athletic backstop really took to the job. He's a live athlete that's at least an average runner with a plus arm and feel to catch that will let him stick behind the plate. He'll flash fringy to average raw power in BP and has the bat speed and feel to hit to hang a 50 or better bat grade if he keeps performing, though the swing can look a little awkward at times. I have him in round 2 right now, with FIU/Giants 2014 2nd rounder Aramis Garcia as a guy with some similarities to Ward, but Ward's superior athleticism could move him even higher with a big spring.

Chris Okey, C, Clemson (2016 eligible)

I'll be quick with the 2016 prospects. Okey was a top 50 prospect out of high school and is still basically the same player, likely to go in the top 2 rounds if he continues progressing at the plate. Okey has a 50+ bat and 40-45 game power along with average speed and the above average arm, hands and feet to stick behind the plate.

Bryan Reynolds, OF/1B, Vanderbilt (2016 eligible)

Reynolds has grown on me since he looked solid in a short look late in the spring. He's a left field fit in pro ball but the switch-hitter has advanced feel to hit with enough raw power (flashes of 50) to profile if the bat keeps carrying him after a standout freshman year for the National Champs.

Nick Banks, OF, Texas A&M (2016 eligible)

Banks was arguably the biggest surprise of the team, as he was a 3rd-5th round type out of high school that had feel to hit but was a left field profile without much projection. It turns out he had an undiagnosed foot injury his senior year of high school and after addressing that, he had a huge freshman year after his physicality and tools progressed with his health. Banks has average to slightly above raw power, a very smooth lefty stroke with feel to hit and the above average to plus speed and arm to possibly fit in center field and at least in right field. He's a first round type right now, though the 2016 college class is still developing.

Zack Collins, C/1B, Miami (2016 eligible)

Collins struggled mightily early in his freshman year, particularly with good off-speed pitches and with a maxed-out frame that will need monitoring and a 1B/DH pro profile, Collins looked to be backed into a corner. Then Collins made an adjustment and mashed his way to freshman All-America honors and now teams are kicking themselves for not seeing past the limited profile and just paying him out of high school, where he stood out as early as his sophomore year. Collins has above average power to all fields and an advanced feel to hit; he's still backed into a corner with a 1B/DH profile that's drive by how he hits, but he might be a 1st rounder.

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