Drove over to Mobile on Monday to see the M-Braves play the Mobile Baybears (and to get some Dreamland Barbecue.) I was hoping to see Tim Collins and Tyler Pastornicky play. I did, and I was not disappointed. The teams were actually playing a make-up double-header, and each game was 7 innings long. I only stayed for the first game. Pastornicky played shortstop, and looked very sharp. He made a couple of nice stops in the infield and hit a sharp line drive. His game is polished, for a player of such young age.
But - the highlight of the night was Tim Collins. Much talk is about his height. I was sitting in the 3rd row, by 3rd base. He doesn't look 5' 7" as listed. But it doesn't matter. He is all muscle and gristle. He can THROW. The Mobile stadium (Hank Aaron Stadium, by the way) doesn't post the pitch-speed, but I would imagine each pitch was low to mid 90's. Anyway, Tim comes in in the 7th (final) inning to close. Walks the first batter (full-count, I think,) second batter flies to left, and third batter grounds into a 6-4-3 double play. Collins is VERY workmanlike - ready to pitch when the ball hits the glove. He has a wind-up that puts every ounce of energy into the delivery. He is a dynamo. I say - next year - Gwinnett, and then watch-out ATL. I would like to see him as a closer candidate - sort of an anti-Bob Wickman. Can you image that? Some guy the size of a middle schooler trots to the mound, starts throwing 90+ mph fastballs, and before you know it, you're back on the bench, just nodding your head. And just by watching him on the field, you get the impression that he might like to pitch against some of the leading hitters, like....say....Prince Fielder.
And to quote the great Freddie Patek (5'4") : " I'd rather be the shortest player in the majors, than the tallest player in the minors." 'Nuff said!
I'm adding some photos of his delivery. Everything is from the stretch. I apologize in advance for the poor quality of the photos - but I thought you Braves fans might like to see the delivery. (And yes, that's Rico Br ogna - coach of the Baybears - in the foreground.) So - say what you will about the Yunel trade - if you consider Pastornicky and Collins, then we got a GREAT deal!
Okay - decided to try to add a link to a VIDEO of Collins pitching. Let's hope it works. Sorry for the blur between the two pitches - using my Kodak digital camera :) Anyway - notice his reaction to the first pitch - a ball. Man - he wanted a STRIKE. So about 2 seconds later, his toe is on the rubber, ready to try again. The second pitch is a strike, and he's - like - okay, that was cool. Next pitch. A spunky young man.
Here's the video link (I posted the video on my business/personal web-site. I don't have a YouTube account, and I don't want to sign-up for one just to post this video :)