How 'Saved by the Bell' shaped the course of Zack Collins' life

How 'Saved by the Bell' shaped the course of Zack Collins' life

Say what, Preppy?

He's never watched an episode, but White Sox 2016 first-round pick Zack Collins knows exactly who he's named after — 'Saved By The Bell' character Zack Morris. 

The catching prospect's parents both watched the show, which originally aired on NBC from 1989-92 and later in syndication. Patrick and Wendy Collins liked the pop culture icon played by Mark-Paul Gosselaar so much they decided to name their first-born after him. Collins, who was selected 10th overall last June out of University of Miami, was born Feb. 6, 1995. 

"(Zack Morris) was the cool kid with the cell phone and the ladies," Patrick Collins said. "We just loved Zack as a name and said, well let's name him after Zack from 'Saved by the Bell.' We were joking about it and 'Yeah, let's do it.'"

While Zack Collins has seen a few clips, he's never viewed a full episode of 'Saved By the Bell.' 

He knows nothing of Mr. Belding, Bayside High School, Kelly Kapowski, Screech, Lisa Turtle or Jessie Spano's "I'm so excited" meltdown. Collins even confused the character his name is derived from, thinking his parents surely named him after popular athlete/drummer A.C. Slater rather than Morris, the smooth-talking cool kid with the oversized 1990s cellphone. 

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The 2016 Johnny Bench Award winner said he rarely watches television but counts the Food Network's 'Diners, Drive Ins and Dives' and Nickelodeon's 'Drake and Josh' and 'Sponge Bob' among his favorite shows.

"I'm a big teen-Nick guy, those kind of shows," Zack Collins said. "Also, I'm kind of a foody a little bit. I like to know when I go somewhere what I have to try."

Given he's likely to start the season at Single-A Winston-Salem, Collins probably won't reach Chicago in time to nab a reservation at The Max, a pop-up version of the show's diner that is located in Wicker Park through May.

Coincidentally, Patrick Collins thinks his son shares a lot of similarities with the character played by Gosselaar, who currently stars as timeout — the catcher — in FOX's 'Pitch,' a show about baseball's first female pitcher. Those likenesses apparently began at an early age. Back when he played T-ball, Zack Collins' helmet had "Zack Attack," the name of Morris' fictitious high school band, airbrushed across the back. 

"He was like that calm and cool kid that talked to his teachers in such a friendly way in school," Patrick Collins said of his son. "He was all the smooth character with the teachers and his friends and the way he carried himself. 

"It's so crazy how he grew up to be that style of a kid."

White Sox: Zack Collins leaves a positive impression on Rick Renteria

White Sox: Zack Collins leaves a positive impression on Rick Renteria

PHOENIX -- Zack Collins headlined the White Sox first round of spring training cuts on Friday, but the 2016 first-round pick will leave major league camp having left a positive impression on manager Rick Renteria.

"He got here, was real comfortable with the pitchers right out of the chute," Renteria said. "He started receiving a little easier. I think (catching coordinator John Orton) and (bullpen catcher Mark Salas) were talking about how at the beginning he was stabbing at pitches and all of the sudden he started receiving pitches. Good position behind the plate, was sticking a lot of pitches during the game he was playing in. He was standing in the box with a lot of comfort. He's a very confident hitter. I thought he handled game-calling pretty well too. 

"I know it's a short snippet, but we really liked what we saw."

With the White Sox carrying six catchers to open camp -- Collins, Omar Narvaez, Geovany Soto, Kevan Smith, Alfredo Gonzalez and Roberto Pena -- the move to reassign Collins to minor league camp came with the goal of trying to get him more consistent at-bats. 

The 22-year-old Collins has three hits with two walks and two stolen bases in 10 Cactus League plate appearances this year. Collins had a strong debut after being drafted 10th overall in 2016, hitting .258/.418/.467 with six home runs in 36 games with advanced Class-A Winston-Salem. 

"He has to continue to play," Renteria said. "He's going to go down there and get a lot more at-bats and will continue to improve on the rest of his game. But we're really happy with how he performed while he was here."

Zack Collins among first White Sox roster cuts of spring training

Zack Collins among first White Sox roster cuts of spring training

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The White Sox made their first roster cuts of spring training, reassigning 2016 first round pick Zack Collins and four other players to minor league camp on Friday. 

Right-hander Spencer Adams, left-handers Brian Clark and David Holmberg and outfielder Courtney Hawkins will join Collins on the minor league side of things at Camelback Ranch. 

Collins, the 10th overall pick in the 2016 draft had three hits, drew two walks and stole two bases in 10 plate appearances as a non-roster invitee. He spent his time in White Sox camp working on his catching skills in an effort to begin to establish himself as the White Sox catcher of the future

Hawkins, the White Sox first round pick in 2013, singled three times in 13 Cactus League at-bats with one strikeout. Clark turned in 3 2/3 scoreless innings, while Holmberg allowed two runs in 3 1/3 innings and Adams allowed four runs in 2 2/3 innings. 

The White Sox now have 54 players in major league camp. Manager Rick Renteria said Thursday he's targeting March 15 to begin to focus on the players who could be a part of the White Sox opening day roster.