Mijares brought in for his left-handed specialty which was the job of Collins in 2011, may be able to light a fire under Collins and make him step his game up. Collins may have taken the signing a little more personal than that thought. After a season where he had struck out many and almost walked just as many, Collins knew that he would have to bring more substance to the table to be a part of a bullpen that has the potential to be the best in the Major Leagues. And improve his resume he has. In just under a year Collins has gone from the guy who will only face left handed hitters to a guy that can punch guys out with any of his three pitches.
In 2011, Collins seemed to struggle with the free passes giving up 48 walks in only 67 innings, while striking out 60 hitters in that stretch. Yes, the strikeouts are tremendous but the walks were definately a red flag for general manager Dayton Moore and the Royals organization going into the off-season. So, in turn they went out and got another lefty specialist in Mijares for many reasons. If things did not pan out with Collins they could just simply give Mijares that job but that is not what ended up happening. At least not in the way that they thought it might happen. Mijares does now have the role of left handed specialist but it is because Collins has hit his stride and not only thrives against lefties but now is dominant against righties too. This accomplishes many things for Ned Yost and his bullpen. Yost can now save more of the pitchers in his bullpen because he does not have two left handed pitchers that can only throw to lefties but now has Collins who in the beginning portion of the season has just mowed hitters down.
Facing 96 hitters this season, Collins has struck out 38, which leads the league among relief pitchers, walked 7, and is giving up a .188 battin average. The misleading thing about the batting average is the fact that his overall batting average against is lower than what he is giving up against left handed batters. So maybe Collins is not just a lefty specialist like he was last season. He, along with his fastball, change-up, and killer curveball, has turned into an arm in the bullpen that can be called upon in any situation with any batter coming up. Hitters just seem to have trouble seeing the ball out of his hand with the whip action that he throws with and the high leg kick that hides everything in his approach to the plate.
The thing that impresses most about Collins is the way that he carries himself out of the mound. And like the wonderdog, Rex Hudler, says body language is a big key to the game. Now, no matter what the program at the team store says Collins is just over five and a half feet tall. Now for a gu to be that small and have such a commanding presence on the mound is what makes him the pitcher that he has now become.
His de facto nickname since he stepped onto the outfield at Kauffman Stadium in 2011, has been “Tiny Tim.” The problem that I have with that nickname now i the fact that he is pitching liek something else out on the moudnd. Over the past month and a half “Tiny Tim” has turned into King Kong out on the bump.