There have been more than a few excellent starts to 2016 among Milwaukee Brewers prospects, but I haven’t seen much coverage of Malik Collymore.
For those unacquainted, the Milwaukee Brewers acquired Malik Collymore in the Jonathan Broxton trade with the Cardinals last year. The highest level Collymore had played in at that point was the Rookie-level Appalachian League. So naturally, the Milwaukee Brewers sent Collymore to the Helena Brewers, their higher level rookie league team.
There, in a short, 138 PA sample (every sample is small in the abridged rookie leagues), Collymore slashed .311/.375/.434. I covered him then, as one of the many prospects the Milwuakee Brewers had acquired who had seen early success in their new organization.
Despite his solid showing in Helena, Collymore was absent from the Class A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers’ outfield-heavy roster at the start of 2016. Then, in May, we got some exciting news:
Maybe you’ve heard that the jump from High-A to Double-A is the most difficult in the minor leagues. But the idea of actually skipping a level was foreign to me, outside of extreme cases or well-regarded prospects, who occasionally jump from AA to the Majors, or the Brewers’ 2016 first-round pick Corey Ray, who is headed straight for High-A.
So why did Collymore make the jump? The 21-year-old was activated on May 19, the same day Brett Phillips hit the disabled list. Omar Garcia was promoted from the Manatees to the AA Biloxi Shuckers to fill in for Phillips, leaving a vacancy for Collymore.
Since then, Collymore has played left field for the Manatees, primarily batting 9th (minor league levels under AA use the designated hitter). This position is often utilized as a “secondary leadoff spot,” a description that Collymore has embodied with his excellent on-base numbers so far this year.
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In 64 plate appearances, Collymore has slashed .268/.359/.375 with a 10.9% walk rate and a 123 wRC+. His strikeout rate is north of 30%, but that’s completely understandable given his youth.
All of this success comes despite Collymore’s jump from the most hitter-friendly confines in the minors, the Pioneer League (5.73 runs per game in 2015), to the most run-suppressing league in all of the minors, the Florida State League (3.89 runs per game in 2016), where pitchers are on average two years Collymore’s senior.
It isn’t clear yet if his early success will keep Collymore on the Manatees’ roster, but even with his solid start, I would hope to see him down with the Timber Rattlers at some point. Currently, he is being buoyed by a .417 BABIP, which will should regress as his season continues.
Either way, Collymore–who was given just a 35+ FV scouting grade by FanGraphs last year–has put himself on the map as a Milwaukee Brewers prospect and deserves increased attention going forward.