The Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Oakland Athletics in their weekend series thanks in part to a great series by Zack Collins.
The catcher, acquired in a trade for Reese McGuire just days before the start of the season, went 6 for 11, with two doubles, a homer, and three RBI.
His emergence comes at the perfect time as Danny Jansen is currently on the IL with an oblique strain. Collins provides some left-handed power and his continued production would be a welcome sight for a team not quite firing on all cylinders offensively.
Blue Jays: Collins’ power bat coveted
When the Jays traded McGuire to the Chicago White Sox for Collins, it raised some eyebrows. Trading a presumed third-string catcher for another may have seemed redundant but the vision seems clearer now. All it took was a key injury for it to develop.
The team likes Collins’ bat, particularly his power-hitting potential. His career average exit velocity and hard-hit percentage are both above-average. The home run he hit to tie the game on Saturday was a no-doubter and some of his other hits were scorched too.
Collins gives the Blue Jays a different look at the position and a much-needed power lefty bat.
Alejandro Kirk will still likely receive a good share of the catching duties and both players will serve as DH at times. Tyler Heinemann is on the roster and could be mixed in occasionally, at least until the roster size gets trimmed to 26 on May 1st.
There is much curiosity about what Kirk can do over the course of a full season’s worth of games. He hasn’t gotten hot yet but has shown to be a gifted hitter. Kirk and Collins can be a formidable duo with some thump until Jansen returns.
While it’s unlikely Collins will be able to keep up the production of the last few games, it did show a glimpse of what he can do. He’s making a case to remain on the roster even after Jansen returns as a sometimes starter/slugging bench bat.
Collins is arbitration-eligible for the first time in 2023 so he could be a multi-year contributor. Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. After all, it was just a few hot games, but it already feels like a pleasant surprise.