Collier hits first ever Spring Breakout homer, Ardoin makes history

March 15, 2024

With Major League Baseball’s inaugural Spring Breakout getting underway on Thursday, with all of the New Balance Baseball Future Stars Series alums scattered across the rosters, it was only a matter of time before one of them stepped up and made a huge impact.

Cam Collier made sure we wouldn’t be waiting very long at all.

Still only 19 years old, the two-time Main Event standout hit a long second-inning homer with one runner on base to set the tone for what’s been an exciting event thus far. Collier also showed he should still very much be at the forefront of conversations about the top end of the Cincinnati Reds system after some ups and downs last year as one of the youngest players in the Florida State League — he was more than three years the junior of the average player in the circuit, and more than 3.5 years younger than the average pitcher.

Collier, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound left-handed hitter, went No. 18 overall to the Reds back in 2022 and spent all of 2023 in Single-A Daytona, batting .246 with a .349 on-base percentage. He posted a .311 average with nine extra-base hits in his final 34 games, however, perhaps signs of a bigger 2024.

Sebastian Walcott, who was seen at the Viera Event back in 2021 when he was still a two-way standout, is also now one of the top prospects in the game, but with the Texas Rangers, with whom he delivered a base hit and scored their only run in Thursday’s 4-1 loss to the Reds.

Meanwhile, Baltimore Orioles catcher Silas Ardoin, a long-time Team Louisiana standout and 2018 International Week star before going on to a stellar collegiate career at the University of Texas, made national headlines with his challenge of a pitch while behind the plate in his team’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, which featured alums Anthony Solometo and Termarr Johnson.

Given the higher-profile nature of the Spring Breakout, it was the first time many fans were seeing the challenge system that’s been in place for a few years at some levels in the minors now, and reviews were mixed, but…ultimately, Ardoin’s challenge was the right play. The call was overturned.

Solometo unfortunately didn’t see any action in the game, while Johnson went 1-for-3 with a single in the bottom of the first inning.

Mike Ashmore
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