Last month, leading up to the MLB trade deadline, there was a ton of commotion surrounding the Phillies and their pursuit of a fourth outfielder.
At the time, struggling outfielder Aaron Altherr was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley and the Phillies were interested in the likes of Joey Gallo, Curtis Granderson, and Adam Jones.
The Phillies were not able to acquire any of those players at the deadline. But they still upgraded their outfield situation a few days earlier, thanks to their minor league system.
On July 27, the Phillies called up outfielder Roman Quinn from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Quinn spent some time with the big league club back in 2016 as a 23-year-old, playing in 15 games.
Fast forward two years later and Quinn is trying to help the Phillies capture their first N.L. East crown since 2011.
The 25-year-old outfielder got off to a good start in Spring Training earlier this year, but suffered a torn ligament in his right middle finger, forcing him to get surgery.
The speedy outfielder did not let the injury slow him down as he hit the ball consistently in his rehab appearances last month.
In five rehab appearances between Single-A Clearwater, Double-A, and Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Quinn hit .375 with three RBI, a double, three walks and two stolen bases.
With that being known, Quinn has brought that same energy to the Phillies post-trade deadline, leaving no doubt that they made the right decision by not trading for an extra outfielder.
In 19 games, the 25-year-old has a triple-slash line of .275/.293/.400 with only two RBI, but also four stolen bases. While he may not have the power-hitting abilities that Altherr or right fielder Nick Williams possesses, for example, Quinn uses speed to his advantage and is a good contact hitter.
These abilities were prevalent immediately when the Phillies traveled up to Fenway Park to take on the Boston Red Sox at the end of July. In the short two-game series, Quinn started in both games, playing in right and center field.
He struggled in the first game against Boston, only notching a hit in five plate appearances, but played better in the second game.
Against starter Drew Pomeranz and the Red Sox relievers, Quinn went 3-for-5 with 2 RBI. But he was also caught stealing twice in that series.
However, for those times he was caught trying to steal a base, it was a close each time.
When it comes to sports, speed is the one thing that you cannot teach. Either you have it or you don’t.
Quinn has it and put it on display against the New York Mets on Thursday evening in the second game of a double-header.
The Florida native took advantage of the Mets pitcher and catcher Devin Mesoraco, getting two steals.
A few weeks ago, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler spoke about Quinn’s speed and how much of a weapon he is off the bench.
“I think it’s fair to say that nobody has a weapon like this off the bench,” said Kapler (h/t MLB.com). “He’s a fairly unique commodity in baseball. He’s an 80 [grade] runner, so there’s really no one who’s a whole lot faster, if there are those who are faster. He switch-hits, he plays the infield, he plays the outfield. He’s a pretty unique weapon.”
Kapler may have been right in saying that there’s probably nobody faster in baseball than Quinn. However, Cincinnati Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton might have something to say that about that, who can also cause problems on the basepaths.
Nevertheless, the Phillies are going to need this unique weapon if they want to capture a postseason berth. With center fielder Odubel Herrera struggling at the plate and having mental errors, Kapler might need to turn to Quinn down the stretch.
Over the last 14 games, Herrera has a triple-slash line of .171/.171/.229 with only two RBI and four strikeouts.
Those types of numbers will not get it done in a pennant race and the Phillies need a consistent hitter in the lineup to help out guys such as Rhys Hoskins, Carlos Santana, and Maikel Franco.
This is where Quinn comes into play, being that late-season addition, many fans were clamoring for before the trade deadline. And even though he might not have the offensive skills like Jones or Gallo, Quinn fills a necessary void for the Phillies.