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Zack Collins Still In White Sox's Future Plans



SAN DIEGO—Zack Collins hit .186 in his major league debut last year, threw out only 1 of 9 basestealers and allowed eight wild pitches and a passed ball in 10 games behind the plate.

The White Sox, already armed with all-star catcher James McCann, then went out and signed Yasmani Grandal to a four-year, $73 million contract this offseason.

Those developments would seem to indicate Collins doesn’t have much of a future in Chicago. White Sox manager Rick Renteria, however, said Tuesday that he does not see things that way.

"There is something in that stick,” Renteria said. "You can see it, even though when he came up the first time around he was 1 for 30 or whatever it was…Then the second time around was a little bit more comfortable, was able to do some things with the bat.

"I think the stick is there. I think he has the ability to catch at the major league level on a consistent basis."

Collins, 24, was drafted 10th overall by the White Sox in 2016. Though his abilities to defend and make contact quickly came under question from scouts, he put together a career .385 on-base percentage and .455 slugging percentage in the minors and steadily climbed through the White Sox system before making his major league debut last year.

As Renteria noted, Collins went 2-for-26 in his first callup spanning late June and early July, but he hit .233/.343/.417 after he returned in September. He started six games at catcher, 11 games at designated hitter and one game at first base during that final month.

Even with that split, and Grandal and McCann in tow, Renteria said the organization still views Collins as a catcher and plans to play him at that position.

"I think (catching) requires a tremendous amount of commitment, which I think he has,” Renteria said. "I think he's taken hold of coming here and realized that there is more to the major leagues than (he) thought. He took it to heart, and I think he is going to continue to push himself to develop and be the player he can.”

MARINERS EXPECT EVAN WHITE TO BE READY

The Mariners gave Evan White a six-year, $24 million contract this offseason. With that deal, manager Scott Servais said the club hopes White will be ready to compete for the Opening Day first base job despite the fact he’s played only four games above Double-A.

"Obviously we like Evan a lot, and signing him long-term going forward maybe takes a little pressure off of him,” Servais said. "Coming into spring training I certainly hope he goes out and plays well and wins the job and runs with it. He'll let us know when he is ready. I expect he will, and am looking forward to seeing him out there every day.”

White, 23, ranked as the No. 100 prospect on the BA Top 100 entering last season and hit .293 with 18 home runs, 55 RBI and an .838 OPS in 92 games at Double-A Arkansas.

With his long-renowned defense and growing offensive game, the Mariners made the decision to give him a long-term contract and make him their first baseman of the present, not just the future.

With only Austin Nola presently ahead of him on the depth chart, White will have every chance to begin 2020 in Seattle.

"He's a great person (and) I think a great young guy that wants to be a big part of what we're doing going forward,” Servais said. "He certainly believes in how we are building this, and has been a big part of what we've done at the minor league levels. I’m looking forward to seeing how spring training plays out.”

OUTFIELD TIME FOR GAVIN LUX?

Gavin Lux has played only two positions during his professional career: shortstop and second base.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Tuesday that while Lux will primarily play second base in 2020, the club plans to expose their top prospect to another position as well.

"It's not crazy to think that seeing Gavin in the grass might be a possibility,” Roberts said. "I think when you have Corey (Seager at shortstop), yeah, second base, and maybe some outfield in the future, short-term.”

Lux, the reigning Minor League Player of the Year, primarily played shortstop in the minors before exclusively playing second base for the Dodgers after he was called up in September. A plus runner with an above-average arm, Lux has the raw scouting tools to profile in the outfield, but actually playing there is a different challenge.

The Dodgers have a long history of moving players around the diamond to previously unfamiliar positions, such as Chris Taylor to left field, Max Muncy to second base and Cody Bellinger to right field. With Lux, the Dodgers feel they have options beyond just the middle infield.

"There's a lot of different directions we can go,” Roberts said, "and a player like Gavin—the athleticism, the bat, all that stuff plays. So we have a lot of time to talk through that.”

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