24. Tommy Collier: 6'2", 205 lbs., RHP
Collier was able to get onto the field for the second half of this season. Warning, obvious statement upcoming: he needs to stay healthy if he's going to develop. Side note: I decided I'm going to integrate Arizona Fall League stats into overall performance. Why? Well, I use Fangraphs to export, and that's what it does. Collier was a 22nd round pick out of junior college in Texas. He doesn't have a huge ceiling, but if he can stay healthy and the change up comes along, he's got a chance to be a back of the rotation starter.
Projected 2014 Level: Double-A Erie
Let's just take a second to talk about how awesome this chart is. Thanks, Daren. You're the best. Sorry there's no video of Collier, but this chart is way cooler.
As you can see, Collier throws a lot of sliders. I know it's a small sample, but 44 sliders in 106 pitches is 41.5%. Of all qualified starters in 2013, exactly four of them threw 30% sliders or more. None at 40%.
Collier missed around three months this season due to an "undisclosed injury", but was quite good in the Arizona Fall League, after putting up an average performance in Advanced-A Lakeland. Collier works with two fastballs, both a two-seamer and a four-seamer, and he's usually between 88-90 miles per hour. He features a deliberate leg lift, and a free and easy arm swing. He certainly has no trouble generating spin, as he features both a plus slider around 83 miles per hour, and a decent curveball in the high 70s. The change is obviously still a work in progress. Whether or not Collier has success as a starter at the big league level is contingent on that third pitch. The Tigers will give him every opportunity to learn it, as starters are more valuable than relievers of course. With his advanced age (he recently turned 24), he may be converted to the pen if that pitch doesn't show up this season.
The Tigers have a dearth of low minors arms, so if he does in fact throw in Lakeland, it won't be for too long. Even though he was only able to accumulate 60+ innings in Lakeland last season, and after his success in the Arizona Fall League, should be ready to handle a full season workload at Double-A. The slider is clearly his bread and butter, and he'll continue to get plenty of swings and misses on that pitch. It's surprising that his strikeout numbers are relatively low, for a guy with a plus slider.
Pay attention to Collier this season, as he could be a complementary piece in a trade.
Thanks to Hueytaxi for the Collier photo.