Roman Quinn could thrive in this role on the 2020 Phillies
It is hard to believe, but Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Roman Quinn is set to begin his ninth professional season within the organization — fourth at the major-league level — since he was drafted in the second round of the 2011 amateur draft.
Along with his 59 other teammates that the Phillies name to their 60-player pool this weekend, Quinn will report to Citizens Bank Park next week for “spring training 2.” The first go-around, he and Adam Haseley were competing for the starting center field position.
Quinn appeared to be in the lead for the job before camp broke; across 10 games and 28 plate appearances, he slashed .261/.393/.609 with a pair of doubles and home runs, four RBI, three stolen bases, three walks, and five strikeouts. Haseley, spanning two fewer games and five fewer plate appearances, slashed only .143/.217/.190, striking out nine times while collecting only two singles, one double, one stolen base and one walk.
But, one of the several new rules implemented for the 2020 season could make the competition a moot point for “spring training 2,” allowing Quinn and Haseley to both co-exist with significant roles after all.
The new rule — effective only in extra-inning regular season games — places a runner on second base at the start of each half-inning. The runner, according to MLB’s 101-page manual for the 2020 season, “shall be the player in the batting order immediately preceding that half-inning’s leadoff hitter.”
Quinn, when healthy, brings a lot to the table on the Phillies’ roster; among the positive attributes is his speed. Given teams are allowed to substitute their runner on second, Quinn becomes more valuable than ever before.
Phillies Active Stolen Base Leaders, Since 2016 (Caught Stealing):
- Scott Kingery, 25 (7)
- Roman Quinn, 23 (5)
- Bryce Harper, 15 (3)
- Jean Segura, 10 (2)
- J.T. Realmuto, 9 (1)
- Rhys Hoskins, 9 (5)
Here is how this situation would ideally play out on paper: the Phillies begin their half-inning pinch-running Quinn at second. The batter could then bunt him over to third base, where then the following batter could bring Quinn home through a sacrifice fly.
As an aside, if the runner who starts on second base comes around to score, it does not count as an earned run for the opposing pitcher. Rather, they are considered as if they reached due to a fielding error that occurred — but no error shall be charged. So, for the first time in Major League Baseball history, a team could lose a perfect game.
Phillies fans’ perception of Quinn. since his debut, has largely been he has great potential, but cannot stay healthy. In 2018, he batted .260/.317/.412 with 10 stolen bases — tied for third among National League rookies — despite playing the last month with a broken pinky toe. Last year, he suffered a Grade 2 right groin strain, limiting him to just 44 games.
Quinn being used and succeeding in this role for 2020 just might be what the three-year veteran needs to turn things around.
As Quinn reports to South Philadelphia, he is leaving his pregnant wife and two kids behind in Florida. He recently told 6ABC’s Jeff Skversky that he wants to keep them safe, in the event he contracts the virus.
He said: “It definitely scares you, man. You can’t really control what someone else does outside the field… that’s my biggest fear in this, it gets to multiple players at one time”
Through three seasons and 109 games since his 2016 debut, Quinn has slashed .243/.321/.382 with 13 doubles, five triples, six home runs, 29 RBI, 23 stolen bases, 30 walks, and 88 strikeouts.