Darryl Collins Plays To Win
Low-A Columbia outfielder Darryl Collins stands out for his advanced hitting ability and plate discipline for a 19-year-old in his first taste of full-season ball.
What also differentiates Collins from his teammates is that he is from the Netherlands, one of just a handful of players in affiliated baseball from that nation.
Credit his upbringing as the primary contributor for his prescient feel to hit. Raised in a close baseball family, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound Collins credits his father, uncle and grandfather for teaching him the right way to play the game. His grandfather spent 60 years as a Dutch baseball star and later a coach.
Collins' precocious ability attracted Nick Leto, the Royals' manager of Arizona operations who scouted Collins first at workouts in Rotterdam and later when the outfielder was playing in the Dutch major league.
The Royals were quick to sign Collins in August 2018 after seeing how he handled himself as a teen playing against older competition. The physical lefthanded hitter made his pro debut with a strong season in the Rookie-level Arizona League in 2019, batting .320/401/.436 in 48 games.
Collins continued to impress in 2021 by batting .273/.370/.385 with four home runs, 20 walks and 28 strikeouts through 37 games in Low-A East.
Earlier in Collins' pro career, observers questioned whether he would develop the power needed to hold down a regular corner outfield position.
Observers noticed the power starting to emerge in minor league spring training games this year. According to a National League scout, Collins is developing physically and has added loft to his swing. With the bat-to-ball skills already in place, that ability to elevate balls should eventually lead to balls going over the fence.
What also stands out with Collins is his outstanding makeup, another trait he developed from his strong family support.
“These kids (in the Collins family) learned how to play,” Leto said. “They play to win. They go into games to make an impact for the team.”
— Darryl Collins isn’t the only family member in the Royals organization. His younger brother Darnel signed with the Royals at the beginning of the latest international signing period and is expected to make his pro debut this summer in the Rookie-level Arizona Complex League despite not turning 17 until a couple of weeks into the season. The younger Collins has been impressive during extended spring training games, showing many of the same attributes as his brother.
— Catcher M.J. Melendez was one of the Royals prospects who struggled mightily at High-A Wilmington in 2019 and then had to wait until 2021 for a season of redemption. While Nick Pratto has gotten more of the attention for his turnaround, the lefthanded-hitting Melendez was also having a fine season at Double-A Northwest Arkansas, with a batting line of .265/.359/.548. He cut his strikeout rate from 39% in 2019 to 23% in 2021 despite playing at a higher level.