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Tuesday May 17, 2011 5:44 am

Tiny Tim tearing it up in Royals’ bullpen

Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, MLB,

Tim CollinsAfter the Kansas City Royals dealt Zack Greinke in the offseason, many thought the team was up for yet another reboot of the familiar rebuilding theme. Instead, the Royals find themselves with a .500 record and sit ahead of both the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins in their division. A good part of their early success is due to breakout rookie reliever Tim Collins. The small lefty has been solid on the hill and helped his team eke out some of their early 20 victories.

Collins came to Kansas City after a busy July last season. After being signed by the Toronto Blue Jays as an amateur free agent, Collins advanced quickly through the minor leagues, but was sent to Atlanta as a part of the Yunel Escobar-Alex Gonzalez deal. Two weeks later, the Atlanta Braves flipped Collins to the Royals with Jesse Chavez and Gregor Blanco in exchange for Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth. He spent the rest of the season with Triple-A Omaha, striking out 9.3 hitters per nine innings with a WHIP of 0.836.

Listed at 5’7” and weighing 170 pounds, “Tiny Tim” is a bit of an anomaly among baseball’s smaller pitchers in that he’s a strikeout master. He’s fourth among Royals pitchers with 25 strikeouts, which even tops starters Bruce Chen and Sean O’Sullivan. Unfortunately for Collins, he’s yet to fully master his control. He and Kyle Davies lead the team with 17 walks, and Davies has pitched almost twice as many innings as Collins. His WHIP this year is at a nasty 1.48, despite opponents hitting just .208 off him.

Collins is a rookie, and he’ll get better as he learns more. At just 21-years-of-age, he still has a lot to learn about the finer points of pitching and has all the tools to do it. His curveball is among the best from guys his age, and the fact that he’s made it to the majors at such a young age is a testament to his skill, although some debate whether he’d be there if he weren’t with the Royals. Still, this guy has moved up through the levels remarkably fast, and it won’t be too long before he’ll earn his shot to be a major league closer.



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