The Clearwater Threshers (45-86) are the worst minor league team record wise in the Phillies system and one of the worst in baseball. Their biggest prospect on the roster is slick fielding shortstop J.P. Crawford who the Phillies selected in the first round of the 2013 MLB draft. Another name that should be on Phillies’ fans radar is Roman Quinn, a centerfielder recently converted from the shortstop position.
Quinn, 21, is a speedy athlete and arguably the fastest player in the Phillies system on the bases. He ruptured his Achilles during offseason workouts and is still working his way back from the injury.
“What happened was I did a heavy leg workout before I did the wind sprints,” Quinn told Philly.com earlier this season.” It was like my third or fourth sprint and it blew out on me. It was completely torn. I’m just trying to get back into the swing of things. It had been almost a year since I played.
I feel like I’m close to 100 percent, but I’m not 100 percent yet. The doctor told me I wouldn’t be 100 percent for about a year. But I’m feeling pretty good and I feel like I’m running as fast as I was before [the Achilles injury].”
The St. Joe, Florida native entered Saturday night with a .252/.329/.363 line, but has hit .284/.345/.422 over his last 27 games played with three homers, six doubles and a 13/17 success rate at swiping bags. He might not even be 100% running wise and likely won’t be until next season. Quinn told Philly.com that his doctor told him he “wouldn’t be 100 percent for about a year”.
He’s reached career highs in games played (81), doubles (10), homeruns (6) and walks (29) this season and is a top ten prospect in Philadelphia. The hope is Quinn can become a top of the order bat that can play close to above average defense, something the major league club doesn’t get from Ben Revere. Quinn has elite speed, but offers a far better arm in centerfield than Revere will ever display.
“Sets up with a similarly quiet stance from both sides of the plate. Features average bat speed, though it’s slightly better from the left side, where he swings more more authority than from the right. Swing is much more controlled form left side where it is clean and short. Should play at higher levels, but doesn’t square the ball up as often as I’d like. Plays a small man’s game which fits his speed profile but I’d like to see him drive the ball a little more. His right handed swing is rotational and can get long and loopy. I’m not convinced that he’ll hit as a right-hander, but his dominant hitting side is on the proper side of the platoon. Has a patient approach at the plate but struggled with recognition of better off-speed pitches.” –Baseball Prospectus
The strikeouts are concerning (21.9% k-rate entering Saturday), but the speed is real. He’s been a far better right handed batter than from the left side statistically speaking, posting a .794 OPS from the right side and just a .652 OPS from the left side in 253 at bats entering Saturday. In 2013 with Clearwater, Quinn posted a .651 OPS as a left-handed batter in 221 at bats. Quinn started switch hitting his senior season and scouts hope hitting from that side of the plate will bring more power.
The swing is a bit long for a guy who you want to have a high average and get on base with only triples type power due to his speed. He has good bat speed that helps with the longer swing, but can leads to more strikeouts, popups and fewer hard hit balls which is necessary considering his body type and role as a player.
“As a left-handed hitter, Quinn uses a wide open stance to “rock and fire” without any noticeable stride. Once again, this will help with consistency. Quinn pulls with his bottom hand causing him to swing under pitches too often. Teach him to utilize his top hand more and his bat speed will be unleashed. A secondary benefit is a level swing plane allowing Quinn to maximize his speed by hitting more ground balls and line drives.” –Fangraphs
He’ll likely stay with current Clearwater teammate J.P. Crawford next year as they move up to Double-A Reading and it should be fun to watch. The tandem brings speed and MLB hit potential, even if Crawford is the player with star potential. Even if he’s not a leadoff guy in the future, having speed and defense makes you an asset with any team in baseball.