Zach Collier's Fine Showing In AFL Heartens Phillies





PHILADELPHIA—The Phillies drafted a pair of promising high school outfielders from Southern California in 2008. Zach Collier went 34th overall, followed by Anthony Gose at No. 51.

Many in the organization envisioned the duo one day becoming two-thirds of the outfield in Philadelphia.

That scenario, however, didn't play out.

Gose, traded twice, made his big league debut with the Blue Jays in 2012, hitting .223/.303/.319 with 15 steals in 56 games. Collier, meanwhile, hasn't played beyond high Class A Clearwater.

Injuries and mistakes have slowed Collier's progress, but the Phillies haven't given up on the 22-year-old. They proved that by sending him to the Arizona Fall League and then adding him to the 40-man roster.

The AFL stint—he hit .371/.461/.532 in 62 at-bats—boosted Collier's confidence.

"Big time," he said. "Going there definitely showed they still have interest me. There were a lot of top prospects there, and for me to be there made me feel really good."

"He showed me a lot in the fall league," said Dusty Wathan, who managed Collier in Arizona and could again at Double-A Reading in 2013. "He not only hung with guys that were maybe a little more advanced than him, but he actually had a lot of success.

"He swung the bat well, ran well and played well at three outfield positions."

With his athletic, 6-foot-2 frame and smooth lefty swing, Collier drew comparisons with Garret Anderson coming out of high school in Chino Hills, Calif.

His progress was slowed significantly by his inability to stay on the field, however. Collier missed all of 2010 with hand and wrist injuries. He got back on the field in 2011 but tested positive for Adderall and missed the first 50 games of 2012.

Collier has since been granted medical clearance to take the drug for attention deficit disorder, and Phillies officials believe he can follow Gose's lead to the majors.

"The tools are all there," Wathan said. "It's just a matter of getting them out in games and being consistent."

PHIL-UPS

• The Phillies signed 30-year-old righthander Zach Miner to a minor league contract with an invitation to big league camp. He last pitched in the big leagues for the 2009 Tigers.

• Club officials say they will give minor league home run champ Darin Ruf, who belted 10 homers in the Venezuelan League, a chance to win the left-field job in spring training.