Cincinnati Reds prospect Cam Collier has an impressive left-handed swing, and he’s been heating up for the Low-A Daytona Tortugas.
In 48 plate appearances over 12 games so far in August, Collier is batting .415, with an on-base percentage of .479 and 15 RBIs.
What’s crazy is the 6-foot-2 third baseman is only 18 years old.
MLB Pipeline ranks Collier sixth among the Reds’ top prospects.
In 312 at-bats this season for the Tortugas, Collier is hitting .244 with an OBP of .339, with five homers, 50 RBIs and 19 doubles.
Here are five things to know about the youngest player in the Florida State League.
Collier was a first-round pick of the Reds in the 2022 MLB Draft.
The player the Reds selected later in the first round with a compensation pick, Sal Stewart, is also a third baseman playing this season at Daytona.
In the 2022 fourth round, the Reds took Collier’s Chipola teammate, pitcher Kenya Huggins.
Collier became the first player since Bryce Harper to leave high school two years early, play a year at a junior college and enter the draft at 17.
Collier played 10 games of his freshman season of high school before the COVID-19 pandemic ended it prematurely. He worked out with other prospects and former big-leaguers Marquis Grissom and Marvin Freeman, friends of his father’s.
As a sophomore, he hit .434 with 13 home runs, 40 RBIs and 19 stolen bases and went 4-0 with a 1.44 ERA and four saves as a pitcher while leading Mount Paran Christian to a state title.
At 16, Collier got his GED, reclassified to the class of 2022 and enrolled at Chipola, a top junior college program.
At Chipola, Collier hit .333 with a .956 OPS in 215 plate appearances over 52 games, with eight homers and 47 RBIs. He also pitched in relief, striking out 16 in 11 1/3 innings.
At 17, he became the second-youngest player in Cape Cod League history.
Collier had committed to Louisville, but opted to sign with the Reds instead. He received a $5 million bonus, well above the $3,659,800 slot value for the 18th pick.
In 35 plate appearances over nine games in the Rookie-level Arizona Complex League, Collier hit .370 with an OPS of 1.144.
Collier’s dad, Lou, played for five teams in parts of eight MLB seasons.
Lou Collier hit .241 in 813 plate appearances over his eight big-league seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Milwaukee Brewers, Montreal Expos, Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies. He turns 50 on Aug. 21.
Lou coached in the 2021 Breakthrough Series, a joint effort on behalf of USA Baseball and MLB at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex, while Cam, a third-base prospect at Mt. Paran Christian, got advice from former big-leaguers including former Big Red Machine star Ken Griffey Sr.
Collier can pitch, but he’s acknowledged he’s not great at basketball.
In an mlbplayers.com interview with Jerry Crasnick, Cam said he played basketball until about eighth grade, but realized he was much better at baseball and focused on it exclusively.
“There’s a reason I quit (basketball),” Cam said. “Chicago is a basketball city, so I definitely wasn’t good enough to play there. I was like, ‘I suck, so I’m just going to stick with what I’m good at.’ I don’t like sucking at stuff. So I just stuck to baseball.”
Cam is “a really big Juan Soto fan.”
“I respect his game and how he plays the game,” Cam told Crasnick. “I’ve tried to pattern my game after guys like that. And I’m a really big fan of Matt Chapman from the defensive side, and Nolan Arenado. I like a lot of the big-time third basemen.”
MLB Pipeline’s Collier profile speculates about whether the teen will remain at 3B:
It’s Collier’s left-handed swing and offensive potential that got him drafted and will carry him up the Reds ladder. It’s loose and features plus bat speed with a knack for making a lot of contact. He wasn’t bothered by premium velocity against older pitching, squares the ball up and uses the whole field with regularity. He’s more of a hitter right now, but there’s plenty of raw power for him to continue to tap into.
An average runner, there is some concern that Collier will fill out and slow down, which might impact his chances to stay at third base long-term. That said, he has decent defensive actions at the hot corner and an arm that fired low-90s fastballs from the mound fits very well there. It could work from right field if third isn’t an option, with first a potential landing spot depending on how he develops.
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This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Cam Collier: Five things to know about Cincinnati Reds prospect