- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 5' 9", Weight 175 lb.
Willie Collazo is a pitcher who debuted in the majors in 2007. Through 2009, his career record as a pro was 52-52.
Collazo went 13-1 with a 2.93 ERA as a college senior, whiffing 148 in 141 innings. He tied Dewon Brazelton for the Sun Belt Conference lead in wins, trailed Brazelton in strikeouts and joined Brazelton on the All-Conference team as the top two starters. Willie was tied for 12th in NCAA Division I in wins, tied for fourth in innings and 8th in strikeouts. Baseball America named him as a third-team All-American pitcher. The Atlanta Braves took him in the 10th round of the 2001 amateur draft.
2001-2003: Braves minor leaguer
Willie made his pro debut in fine form with the Jamestown Jammers (3-1, 1 Sv, 0.60, 9 H, 0 BB, 13 K in 15 IP) and the Macon Braves (2-2, 1 Sv, 2.70, 23 K, 4 BB, 13 H in 23 1/3 IP). He was 4-4 with a 3.08 ERA for the Gigantes de Carolina in 2002-2003 winter ball. With the Greenville Braves, Collazo went 4-2 with four saves and a 3.47 ERA in 51 games. He struck out over a batter per inning and had a K:BB ratio of almost 3 to 1. Returning to Greenville, William went 6-2 with a 3.66 ERA in 39 games in 2004. He also was 0-1 with a 3.07 ERA for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. In the 2004-2005 Puerto Rican League, the Carolina southpaw had a 3-4, 4.65 record with one save.
The Anaheim Angels grabbed Collazo in the minor league part of the 2003 Rule V Draft. Assigning him to the Arkansas Travelers and making him a starter for the first time since college, he went 6-10 with a 4.56 ERA. He led the Texas League with two shutouts and had an ERA better than team average, maintaining a solid K:BB ratio.
In April of 2005, though, Willie tested positive for steroids and was suspended for 15 games. He struggled in his return - 1-5, 6.78 for Arkansas with 16 HR allowed in 71 2/3 IP and 0-1, 7.71 for the Salt Lake Stingers, surrendering 7 gopher balls in 23 1/3 innings. His career was going sour quickly.
Collazo had a fine winter with Carolina in 2005-2006, going 5-2 with a 2.35 ERA, second to Josue Matos in ERA. He walked only 8 in 57 IP and won Pitcher of the Year honors. In the 2006 Caribbean Series, he was 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA and made the All-Star team as the top left-hander in the Series. He was also named a Baseball America Winter All-Star.
Willie was on the Puerto Rican roster for the 2006 World Baseball Classic, a staff loaded with players with major league experience. Collazo had a 13.50 ERA in three games, walking three and allowing 3 hits in 2 innings as one of the staff's worst hurlers. A bright spot was a scoreless inning against Cuba, while on the other end, he was their least effective pitcher against The Netherlands, allowing 2 of the 3 runs that game.
The New York Mets signed Collazo and he had a 7-6, 3.11 record for the Binghamton Mets with only 16 BB and 79 K in 118 2/3 IP. Promoted to the Norfolk Tides, he had a 3-3, 4.79 line in 7 outings. He finished fourth in the Eastern League in ERA.
Collazo pitched for Puerto Rico in the qualifier for the 2008 Olympics and was 0-1 with a 5.63 ERA.
In the 2006-2007 Puerto Rican League, Collazo was 0-2 with a 4.15 ERA through December 8. In the 2007 Caribbean Series, Willie started and lost game five to the Aragua Tigers to eliminate his Gigantes de Carolina from the competition. He allowed two runs, one earned, in 6 2/3 IP, but got little support (just one run).
Collazo moved to relief and was 6-5 with four saves and a 2.46 ERA in 53 games for the 2007 Norfolk Tides. He walked just 19 batters in 98 2/3 innings. That earned him a September call-up to New York. In his debut, he relieved a struggling John Maine in the fifth and allowed a single to his first opponent, Joey Votto (Votto's first MLB hit). He then retired another fellow rookie, Tom Shearn, on a double play grounder. Collazo put two men on to start the 6th but then got the next two batters out, one of them also on a DP ground ball.
Collazo had a 6.35 ERA in six games for the 2007 Mets.
2008-2009: Back on the farm
Willie was back in AAA for all of 2008 and 2009, posting good years both times. The first year, he was 4-9 with two saves and a 4.05 ERA for the New Orleans Zephyrs and 9-5 with a 3.70 ERA with the '09 Zephyrs. In 2008, he was 6th in the Pacific Coast League in ERA, between Randy Wells and Matt Palmer, and he was 9th in '09. Despite that fine work, he was not called back to the majors either year.
Early in 2010, Collazo was signed by Taiwan's President Lions. He debuted on April 29 with 3 runs in six innings in a no-decision against the La New Bears. He went 2-6 with a 3.01 ERA in 10 games for the Lions.