Dating back to when he was selected by the Phillies as their second round draft choice out of Port St. Joe High School (FL) in 2011, Roman Quinn has been a promising prospect that the team has high expectations for. Now, as he reaches the upper levels of the pro ranks, the switch-hitting center fielder has become a buzz name to potentially take over a role in the big league outfield in the near future.
Quinn would make his pro debut as a 19-year-old with short-season Class A Williamsport in 2012, posting a .281 average with nine doubles, a league-leading 11 triples, one home run and 23 RBI while swiping 30 bases in 36 opportunities.
Those excellent offensive efforts came while learning to switch hit and adapting to a defensive switch to shortstop, after playing mostly outfield prior to signing his first pro deal.
Comfort was a big factor for Quinn in 2013, according to his Class A Lakewood coaches, who saw things get easier for the talented youngster at the plate as the season went on. He got off to a rough start, batting .202 with a .556 OPS in 22 April games. In May, things began to look up, offensively, for Quinn, as he tallied a .304 average with an .874 OPS in 26 contests that month. His season would not last much longer, as the Florida resident was hit by a pitch that resulted in a broken left wrist in June, ending his campaign with .238 average with seven doubles, three triples, five home runs and 32 stolen bases in 41 chances through 67 games.
Unable to compete in that autumn’s Florida Instructional League, due to the slow healing wrist, Quinn continued to work out and suffered a ruptured right Achilles tendon while running sprints. Surgery came soon afterward and Quinn missed considerable time while recovering.
Originally expected to miss the majority of the 2014 season, Quinn, who is listed at five-foot-10, 170-pounds, was back on the field by mid-May and impressed many with the strides that he took.
Playing in 88 contests, the most he’s played in any of his three pro seasons to that point, for the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers, Quinn returned to post a .257 batting average along with 10 doubles, three triples, seven home runs and 36 RBI.
In the interest of making up for lost time, the Phillies wanted Quinn to see more action in the off-season and sent him to play in the prestigious Arizona Fall League. In 24 games with Scottsdale, he batted .250 with two triples, two home runs and nine RBI.
In 2015 Quinn opened the season with Double-A Reading, where he posted a .306 average with six doubles, six triples, four homers, 15 RBI and 29 stolen bases in 39 opportunities in 58 games before he was sidelined with another injury. Initially diagnosed as a quad strain, the ailment was later revealed to be a muscle tear, which kept Quinn out of action much longer than was initially anticipated.
He reached full health in the off-season and spent some time with Licey in the Dominican Winter League, posting a .212 average with a pair of home runs, seven RBI and eight stolen bases in 25 games played.
The swift rise of the Phils’ top 2013 draft choice J.P. Crawford, a shortstop, did away with Quinn’s assignment at the same position. He was re-positioned to center field, where he played in high school, a change that boosted his comfort level on the field. Defensively, Quinn has a strong arm and has displayed excellent range in the outfield.
At the plate, Quinn displays gap power from both sides, as he strives to improve his switch-hitting ability. Quinn is a natural right-handed batter which shows in his 2014 Clearwater splits (.327 average from the right side, .227 average from the left side) and splits from last season in Reading (.350 average as a righty batter, .281 as a lefty). He draws walks a fair amount, but will need to improve his contact in order to be best effective at the top of the order.
Coaches like Quinn’s personality a great deal. He plays smart, does all he can to get on base and score runs, plus displays a solid ability to adapt to whatever is thrown his way.
On the bases, Quinn’s speed returned, post-surgery, to where it had been prior to the Achilles injury. He sports a 77% success rate in stolen base attempts in his career and that will continue to climb as he develops better reads on pitchers.
In addition, he has a tendency to get into pitcher’s heads while on the bases and can take advantage of lax infield defense with a keen ability to drop a bunt for a base hit. He seems like a potentially prototypical lead-off man. Quinn told me last season that he looks toward a player like National League batting champion Dee Gordon for inspiration for the player he would like to develop into.
The 22-year-old possesses the tools to become an impact player in the majors. An estimated time of arrival for the big leagues isn’t far off, but he won’t be first among the Phils’ top prospects to reach the highest level of the sport. Look for Quinn to open the 2016 season with Reading once again with a promotion to Triple-A on the horizon if and when he shows a dominance of the Double-A Eastern League.
Follow this year’s full prospect countdown by clicking this link.