Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tim Collins at the Pan-Am Games qualifier

After the baseball season ended, things continued to be lively for pitcher Tim Collins. Collins, as you might remember from my post of a month ago is the undrafted, short, hard-throwing strikeout artist now in the Kansas City Royals system. Frankly, though, I'm more impressed with his success given his age rather than his height.

Reports of his height keep creeping up, understandable given the height bias baseball shows towards players, especially pitchers. His birthdate stays the same, however and Collins has been legally able to drink for just under two months now.

I digress. The season ended and the Sporting News, quite appropriately, named Collins to their 2010 all-minor league team. Collins was then selected to represent Team USA in the Pan-American Games qualifier where he was the youngest pitcher on the team and third youngest player for Team USA. The two younger guys, Mike Trout and Eric Hosmer, are both former first round picks. Collins, as you may recall, went completely undrafted.

The fortunes of Team USA and Collins went hand in hand. Collins pitched his first game for Team USA against Canada. He threw a scoreless fifth inning, striking out one as Team USA earned the win in their first game of the tournament.

Two days later, Team USA again defeated Canada. Collins again threw a scoreless fifth, allowing a single.

On October 2, Team USA traveled to Puerto Rico to continue the tournament (the first games were in Cary, North Carolina) and faced Puerto Rico. In the 6th inning, Puerto Rico had rallied to bring the score to 4-3 and had a man on second. Collins was summoned from the pen and got his man to pop out to end the inning.

He got the first two men he faced in the seventh then allowed a single and a double before getting out of the jam by striking out the batter. He began the eighth and retired the first two batters he faced before being removed. Collins threw just 21 pitches to the eight batters he faced and USA triumphed 7-4.

Over the next few days, the United States battered opponents, blanking Aruba 14-0 and crushing Colombia 13-6. Collins worked the ninth in a 8-3 victory over the Dominican Republic, walking one.

Collins continued his string of scoreless appearances against Nicaragua on October 8th. He allowed a single and struck out one in the eighth inning of a 5-0 USA victory. Two days later Collins worked the ninth in a 4-0 victory over Canada. He walked a batter, gave up a single and struck out one.

After thirteen consecutive victories, USA lost their final game against the Dominican Republic. The DR was looking to pull away from USA in the seventh. Up 4-1 with runners on first and third and two outs, Collins was summoned to get out of the jam, which he did. Collins struck out two of the three batters he faced in the eighth and then started the ninth with a walk. After a sacrifice moved the runner to second, Collins allowed a double to give up his first run of the tournament. He struck out the next batter and then was removed from the game. His replacement served up a two run homer, the runner on second being charged to Collins.

Collins led team USA with seven appearances, six of them scoreless. He threw ten innings, giving up seven hits, walking four and striking out seven. His ERA was 1.80.

It was a nice performance by Collins and one that should help increase his already solid chances of being on the Kansas City Royals come April.

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