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Future Redbirds Top 25 Prospects for 2015: #14 - Malik Collymore

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The Canadian import is built like a brick outhouse but has a lot of skill development to do yet. When everything finally clicks though, he could be a monster middle infield prospect.

Malik Collymore
Malik Collymore
stltoday.com

Acquired: Draft, 2013 (10th round, #305); Port Credit SS, Ontario, Canada

Birthday: 4/29/1995

Age: 19

Minor League Stops in 2014: Gulf Coast Cardinals (R)

2014 Totals:

PA

AVG

OBP

SLG

ISO

K%

BB%

wOBA

201 .333 .403 .480 .147 21.4 9 .422


F-R Grades:

(You can find the primer on the 20-80 grading scale here)

Hit

Run

Arm

Field

Power

50/60 60 50 45/55 50/60

As physically gifted as any player in the current Cardinals minor league system, Malik Collymore is another GCL standout from 2014.  On the same team with F-R Top 25 players Edmundo Sosa, Frederis Parra, Ronnie Williams, and Minor League Player of the Year Magneuris Sierra, Collymore made an impressive leap forward in his approach and contact ability while repeating the league at age 19.

<iframe width="853" height="480" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/AcJACJfGZUA?list=PL7zbYCEK4jlLHW6wkCwdnKB7_NxqJp0rz" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Collymore's lone HR from the 2013 season.

After hitting just .228/.267/.333 in 60 PA's (while striking out nearly 40% of the time) in his introduction to pro ball in 2013, Collymore showed across the board improvement at the plate, but the most impressive was his approach at the plate: Cutting down strikeouts, working more walks, and getting better pitches to hit. Consequently, his contact rate went up considerably as well as his ISO. Knowing the pitches and locations one handles well and working into favorable counts is a key for young players like Collymore, and the big improvement in these measures says a lot about his potential as a hitter.

To my eye, Collymore has one of the better power generating swings that I've seen while putting together this list. His swing is compact, quick through contact, and uses a ton of leverage to build smash factor at the point of attack. When I saw this showcase HR Derby from 2012, I immediately thought of another player with similar size and swing (FFWD to the 3:20 mark, mute to turn the annoying soundtrack off):


<iframe width="853" height="480" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_RtK4t2y1Dg?list=PL7zbYCEK4jlLHW6wkCwdnKB7_NxqJp0rz" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

To me, his swing looks a lot like Yoenis Cespedes. Cespedes is much more polished and has a slightly open stance (which Collymore may end up adopting as well), what's more, Cespedes' is able to repeat his swing and doesn't have nearly as much ancillary movement during his setup and load phase as Collymore does. Now, per reports, Collymore has worked a ton of that extraneous, wasted motion out of his swing over the last couple of years, but I don't really have any video to demonstrate that, unfortunately.

Defensively, his speed and quickness play well at second base and he's got more than enough arm for the keystone. Footwork was an issue early on, especially around the bag, but given his athleticism it seems likely that Collymore will be at least an average infielder and maybe trending towards plus as he gets more refined experience at the position.

Honestly, I hope the kid makes it just so he can get a shot at the ESPN Body issue at some point in the future.  He's certainly got the build for it, and he's only nineteen:

<iframe width="853" height="480" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/zrl6Iv_T3Q4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

<iframe width="853" height="480" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/8HecGM_FsyU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

He looks more like a safety working out at the NFL combine than a second baseman in the minor leagues.

Given Collymore's work ethic and attitude, he's certainly one of the players I'm going to be rooting for among the Cardinals minor leaguers over the next half decade or so. If you're looking for a major league comp, Brandon Phillips is probably Collymore's ceiling as a player.

<iframe width="853" height="480" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/SoJRLkZBtYo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

2015 Outlook:

I think where he starts is really up in the air at this point: He's played two years in rookie league, will turn 20 this spring, so if you're bullish on him a full season league seems to be the likely destination and there's certainly playing time to be had with Peoria. He could also go the Rowan Wick route, start the season with a short season A club, and then look for promotion later in the summer. His improvement over the winter will likely decide his fate I would guess, but I'd be more in favor of pushing him given that he seems to have the ability to handle failure pretty well.

Overall Grade: B-