KANSAS CITY, MO - JULY 08: Pitcher Tim Collins #55 of the Kansas City Royals in action during the game against the Detroit Tigers on July 8, 2011 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
I haven't seen many glowing profiles of Tim Collins lately. Have you? Oh, he's still around and now he has some hideous ducktail type thing, which I suppose is popular. (Have baseball players, as a group, ever looked uglier? Bad hair, bad beards, bad jewlery, etc.) But at this point he doesn't truly look like a legitimate asset. Instead, he's merely a guy. Maybe a useful guy, but overall, just a guy. Form a line.
|2011 - Tim Collins||4-4||42||0||0||0||0||0||45.1||31||18||18||3||34||39||3.57||1.43|
Through May 28, Collins was used almost constantly by Ned Yost, who gave him the ball in 28 of the team's first 51 games. While this included a handful of short outings, he wasn't a specialist. Collins faced 10 batters three times in that span. His game log is fascinating to look at, because in today's dull game, we just don't see players who are used in a truly random way anymore. Yost was consistently using Collins, but the length of his outings had no pattern. After a nice start and a shiny 0.00 ERA for a week or so, Collins had some labor pains through those busy first two months, but rebounded by the end of it with another nice stretch.
However, the strikeouts started showing up less frequently and the walks kept coming. Since the start of June, here are Collins's numbers: 14 G, 15.2 IP, 10 BB, 8 SO, 9 Runs Allowed, 5.17 ERA.
He's not allowing many hits, but the walks remain a critical problem. Even with this recent rough patch, I don't want to suggest that Collins has been a disaster or that he's doomed to a short career. That isn't the case.
Nevertheless, at the moment he's a guy with a toxic 17.5% BB rate. His ERA is still nice looking (though we need to adjust for the reliever bump and the lower run scoring) but his FIP (4.42) and especially his xFIP (4.87) suggest that he's headed for tough times. Really though, you don't need fancy stats to see that. Pitchers who walk nearly a batter an inning have pitched poorly, eventually, for the last hundred years.
In a way, I feel like Collins's arc was inevitable. And in that sense, it is a little sad that his exciting and at times unhittable first month was wasted on the 2011 Royals. Because, like many pitchers who come over from Japan with an odd delievery, his first month was almost certainly going to be his best month. He's a very unique pitcher. Imagine him showing up in August for a Royals team in a pennant race? Insane. Oh well, it didn't happen.
Given that Collins was the jewel of the 2010 trade class, he's a good reminder that we need to temper our expectations for what the Royals might acquire this week. At the moment, it does not seem probable that Tim Collins becomes a bullpen star. In fact, he might not even be regular Major Leaguer going forward.