When the Blue Jays included tiny reliever Tim Collins in the Yunel Escobar trade, many fans and minor league watchers were disappointed to see the exciting bullpen arm move on. Despite being an undrafted free agent, Collins put up eye-popping numbers at every minor league stop, including fifteen strikeouts per 9 innings at AA New Hampshire.
Collins soon went to the Royals as part of the Rick Ankiel/Kyle Farnsworth trade and posted similar numbers at the Royals AAA affiliate in Omaha. Collins — awesomely nicked named Tim Collinsecum by people ideologically opposed to gin — then made the Royals 2011 Opening Day roster.
Generously listed at 5’7, Collins has emerged as a legitimate big league reliever for Ned Yost. His strikeout rate is just as gaudy at the big league level where Collinsecum has 14 strikeouts in just 9 innings (that’s a 14.00 K/9 via science.)
The novelty of a not-very-tall pitcher makes Tim Collins an easy fan favorite and his success thus far makes it easy to see why Yost loves calling on him. All the time. Nearly every night. To the point of insanity.
Tim Collins had the worst outing of his young career for the Royals last night, earning his first lost by surrendering 4 runs in the 10th inning against the Indians. Collins really didn’t look good in his shocking FIFTH game appearance of the week.
Ned Yost called on Collins to pitch an inning on Tuesday, April 12 then another inning and a third the following day. Collins came in and walked the only two batters he faced on Friday before pitching a strong inning (3 strikeouts, 29 pitches on Saturday. Yost went to Collins again last night for another 30 pitches.
The widely-held concern with Collins was obviously the strain of a big league workload on his diminutive frame. Like two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum, these fears are greatly overstated when you consider their maximized mechanics and the extreme conditioning, as evidenced below:
Umm, yeah. I’m not any more worried about Collins standing up to the strain of pitching 5 times in 7 days than any other pitcher. That said, I am worried about ANY pitcher throwing that much in such short order, no matter how bulging his muscles nor how hard he can heave a medicine ball.
I understand the Royals aren’t really considered with the long-term impacts on Tim Collins because he’s a relief pitcher and they’re the Royals, but running any pitcher out with such frequency is a great way to break your new favorite toy, Ned Yost. Haven’t Royals fans suffered enough?