The Philadelphia Phillies Top 10 Prospects countdown continues here at TBOH with the #9 player on our list.
Center fielder Roman Quinn feels the need: the need, for speed. A year ago, Jim Callis for MLB Pipeline called Quinn “the fastest legitimate prospect in the game” stating that the Phillies’ outfielder is “capable of getting from home plate to first base in less than four seconds from either side of the plate. He turns in sub-6.4-second times in the 60-yard dash and was clocked at 14 seconds around the bases on an inside-the-park home run in 2013.”
It is that special weapon, that tantalizing speed, that got Quinn the 9th spot in our TBOH Phillies Top 10 ranking. Quinn was named on all seven of our staff ballots, receiving one 7th, four 8th, and a pair of 9th place votes.
Possibly the only thing keeping Quinn from an even higher finish is the health factor. Quinn has been unable to play a full season to this point in his professional development.
In fact, he has played in no more than 88 games in any of his four seasons since joining the Phillies organization as their 2nd round pick in the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft out of a Florida high school.
Last June 12th, Quinn suffered a Grade-3 hip flexor tear while trying to leg out an infield single. The injury kept him out for the rest of the summer, ruining what to that point was a fantastic season in which he was leading the Eastern League with 29 steals, and was tied for the league lead in both runs and triples.
It was just the latest in a recent series of physical setbacks. In late June of 2013, Quinn was hit by a pitch that broke his right wrist and ended his season early. During that next off-season, he ruptured his right Achilles tendon, causing him to miss most of the first couple of months of the 2014 campaign.
One of those who ranked him 9th, Ethan Witte, was concerned about that health factor, stating “…being healthy is a skill, and he hasn’t demonstrated that skill yet.” Tyler DiSalle also left the speedster at 9th on his list.
Ryan Gerstel noted the injury history as well while focusing more on the talent factor: “he is an exciting talent with top-notch speed both on the basepaths and in the outfield. He won’t be crushing home runs, but he will be making contact and using his legs to get on base.” Both Alexis Girardo and myself joined Gerstel in placing Quinn in the #8 slot of our lists.
Our staffer who is highest on Quinn is clearly Mike Azzalina, who called him his “favorite player” in the Phillies’ system.
“I watched him play every game of a four game set when Reading came to Harrisburg,” said Azzalina. “The kid can flat-out fly. Turns singles into doubles and routine pop ups just outside the infield into a possible tag play. His speed plays well as a centerfielder too. The only question in his game right now is whether or not he can stay healthy for a full season. “
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Over the course of the four interrupted minor league seasons, Quinn has hit for a cumulative .269/.348/.388 slash line over 1,246 plate appearances. He has 188 runs scored, 23 triples, and 123 stolen bases. Last season, Quinn was hitting a career-high .306 at the time of his latest injury.
As he prepared to return for the Dominican Winter League, Quinn was interviewed in late September by The Morning Call’s Tom Housenick, and recognized the injury concerns. “I’m a speed guy. I’ve got to take care of my legs. I’m stretching more, tissue prep, getting all the intangibles down.”
The hope is that through better training and smarter decisions, the 22-year old can finally remain healthy. As we reported in recent days, the Phillies have a new sports science partner in CoachMePlus, and tracking situations such as Quinn’s will be right up their alley.
Quinn got to appear in 25 games with Licey in the DWL, hitting just .212 over 99 at-bats with 17 runs scored and 8 stolen bases. But the playing time gave him a chance to shake the rust off his game, and get involved in some real competition to end his 2015 on a more positive note.
He currently ranks in the #8 slot of the MLB Pipeline Phillies prospect rankings. Baseball Prospectus has him all the way up at #5 on their list, clearly taking the positivity of talent over the injury history.
I am convinced Quinn can become a huge piece in the rebuilding plan, the Phillies center fielder and leadoff man of the future. That could begin as soon as this coming September, certainly by next season. The fast player just needs to put together a full, healthy season in 2016 to put himself on a fast track to the big leagues.