Quinn handling curveballs in Clearwater

Posted: June 27, 2014

WHEN ROMAN QUINN was growing up in Florida, he always knew baseball was for him. The hard part was deciding what position to play. He was split between two positions that he enjoyed equally.

"When I was 11 and 12 years old, I played shortstop," Quinn said. "Going into 14, 15 and playing on my summer leagues team I was on, I was always a centerfielder."

Just a few years later, Quinn is using his experience from his younger years to make a transition for High A Clearwater. He was drafted in 2011 out of Port St. Joe High School as a shortstop. At the time, it was clear that was the position the Phillies wanted him to focus on going forward.

But just a few weeks ago, he got a request. With prospect J.P. Crawford making big strides at shortstop, the Phillies needed somewhere else to put Quinn. They asked him to make the transition back to centerfield.

"At first I was kind of shocked," Quinn said. "I thought I was getting at the position and I worked hard at the position. I talked to a couple of people and I started to think about it more, and started being all in for it."

Now that he is all in for the change, it is time to start adapting. Centerfield is a completely different animal than shortstop, but Quinn is using his prior experience to ease the transition.

"As for the transition right now, it helped me a lot, my early experiences in the position," Quinn said. "It is just getting my feet wet again and getting back out there getting the reads off the bat. It is helping me out a lot."

As if transitioning to a new position in the middle of a season isn't hard enough, Quinn is also still trying to get healthy. He has not been 100 percent for an entire season since he was drafted, and has only played in 28 games this year, coming off a torn Achilles' tendon.

"It's been pretty tough," Quinn said about returning from injury. "It had been a year since I actually played in a game or a full season. It has been pretty tough. Now that I am getting back in the rhythm of things, I am getting more comfortable each game."

Though he has not played very many games this year, he is working to becoming the prospect people think he could be. He is hitting .243 in his shortened season but believes he needs more reps to be able to better recognize and identify pitches.

Quinn has the task of trying to work his way back at the plate from not only the right side, but the left side as well. He started switch-hitting just 3 years ago, but has shown promise. He is working diligently on it, and coaches at Clearwater believe he can be successful.

"They are saying that all I need are the reps on that side," Quinn said. "I have yet to play a full season so I think with the more reps I get, the better and more comfortable I will feel on that side."

Quinn still has to pull everything together. Staying healthy has not come easy for him since turning pro, but he seems to have his health back for the most part now. Being a speed guy, an Achilles' injury can put a damper on his game, but he is trying to regain his footing. He has six stolen bases so far, which is a good sign coming off the injury.

If Quinn can make a smooth transition to the outfield, and find his stroke at the plate, he and his "God-given speed" have a chance to move up the Phillies minor league system in the next few years.

Prospect Park

Catching up with five notable Phillies’ farmhands:

1. Maikel Franco, 3B, Lehigh Valley: Franco continues to struggle at the plate, being held hitless in four of his last eight games. He has managed just eight hits in his last 36 at-bats, just three of them for extra bases. .212, 5 HR, 30 RBI

2. J.P. Crawford, SS, Clearwater: Crawford has only played seven games since being called up to Clearwater, but has yet to made the adjustment. He went hitless in his first two games with the club, but had five in the next five games. .179, 0 HR, 0 RBI

3. Aaron Altherr, OF, Reading: Since being optioned back down to Reading after a brief stint with the Phillies, he is 5-for-21 with two doubles. He is hitting an outstanding .347 in the month of June. .244, 4 HR, 26 RBI

4. Carlos Tocci, OF, Lakewood: Tocci has not been finding success on the offensive side of things. After a terrible May when he hit just .184, he has stepped it up a bit, but not much. He has four hits in the last week. He is hitting .167 since after the break. .237, 0 HR, 17 RBI

5. Zach Green, 3B, Lakewood: Green has been making strides in his first season at Lakewood. He got off to a rough start, but is heating up as the months go by. He is hitting .300 in June, and has scored 23 runs in the 26 games he has played in. .232, 1 HR, 9 RBI

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