We all know Billy Hamilton. He’s the fastest person to ever stick his feet in a pair of cleats.
Dust clouds are born and die in the span of his steals. Rare are the players whose walks and HBPs are as threatening as doubles and triples. But Billy is one, burning through the Arizona Fall League with 10 stolen bases in 17 games. Then there’s his regular season, which border on obscene (155 SB in 132 games).
Billy Hamilton’s the kind of guy everybody talks about, not just the franchise lucky enough to have locked him up. In this case, it’s Cincinnati, and while they made it so no Phillies prospects had to play against him in the AFL, you know the days are coming where Billy makes any backstop look ridiculous.
Must be nice having a guy like that who, at 22 years old, we are still able to convince ourselves he will be good forever. But this is the Phillies, who don’t have any good players, anywhere.
Except, according to Mike Newman of Fangraphs, Roman Quinn. Whom Newman compared to a certain Reds prospect/folk legend. Not only that, but he hinted that maybe–perhaps–Quinn is in fact the better player?!
Newman couldn’t enough about Quinn’s speed, calling him “lightning quick” and labeling him an “up-the-middle” player in future years. As a shortstop by nature, this is good news; however, unable to tell which middle infield position will need a long term replacement first in Philadelphia is tough to say. So to have somebody in the minors, regardless of how deep, to at least instill a vote of confidence is a blessing.
Roman Quinn is a sleeper, but not for long. As he begins to post gaudy stolen base totals in full season baseball, he’s bound to gain momentum much like Reds Billy Hamilton.
In the same draft class as Williamsport teammate Larry Greene, Quinn has been mentioned on this site before as the slick fielding speedster to complement Greene’s potentially raw power. And at 19 years old, his development has plenty of time; but in true Quinn fashion, he seems to have a head start. Plenty of time to learn a swing that keeps him getting under the ball. We’ve watched too many speedsters fail in this way in the past.
There’s a reason he was voted third best player in the NY/Penn League and will continue to impress as he moves up the ranks, giving us a name to spout when the Billy Hamilton’s and Bryce Harper’s are accomplishing things.