Heath Quinn

Down on the Farm: Healthy Heath Quinn showing off his power in San Jose

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San Jose Giants

Down on the Farm: Healthy Heath Quinn showing off his power in San Jose

Heath Quinn missed all of April last season with a broken hamate bone. The Giants' third-round pick from 2016 was placed on the DL twice in 2017, twice already this season, and only played in six games last month. 

When healthy though, there's no denying Quinn's power potential. And recently, that power has been on full display for the San Jose Giants. 

Quinn started off the month of May on a roll, batting .360 with one home run, two doubles and a .945 OPS in six games. But on May 8, Quinn went down with a leg injury while rounding the bases and didn't return until June 10. 

In June, the left fielder didn't miss a beat from where he was before his injury, bringing an even hotter bat to the plate. Over 12 games, he is batting .391with four home runs and a 1.092 OPS. Of the 12 games he's played in, Quinn has seven multi-hit games and has only gone hitless twice. 

Thursday night at Municipal Stadium was the latest display of hitting dominance for Quinn. Batting fourth as the DH, Quinn went 3-for-4 and mashed his fourth home run in his last eight games in San Jose's 6-1 win over Stockton. 

"The power is there, he’s one of those big-tool players," Netsor Rojas, San Jose's manager in 2017, said of Quinn last year.

When Rojas, now the Giants' Triple-A Fundamentals Coach in Sacramento, said that last year, Quinn was going through a season of ups and downs in San Jose. Quinn certainly showed his power in his first stint with San Jose, finishing the season with 10 home runs, but he hit just .186 in the second half of the season. For the year, he struck out in 31.6 percent of his at-bats. Now in Year 2 with San Jose, Quinn looks like a whole different player, with his strikeout rate down to 24 percent.

While playing in far less games (40) than other teammates, Quinn is still at or near the top of the charts in multiple offensive categories for San Jose. For everyday players, he leads the team with a .338 batting average, is third in home runs (7), first in on-base percentage (.391), first in slugging percentage (.539), and first in OPS (.929). 

Health hasn't always been kind to Heath. At 23 years old, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound slugger looks like he could be a centerpiece to the Giants' future, as long as he stays on the field. 

Down on the Farm: Coach's view of San Jose Giants' stacked outfield

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San Jose Giants/Tim Cattera

Down on the Farm: Coach's view of San Jose Giants' stacked outfield

If it weren't for a bevy of injuries this year, Steven Duggar would be roaming the outfield for a higher level than the San Jose Giants right now. Just ask his manager. 

"If healthy at the beginning of the year, he could be playing at higher levels or the big leagues," Giants manager Nestor Rojas said before the team's 12-7 win Thursday night.  

Duggar backed up his manager's comments hours later in only his sixth game of the year with San Jose. The 23-year-old hit a grand slam, scored two runs and stole a base. Of his six hits in six games with the Giants, five have gone for extra base hits -- four doubles and Thursday's grand slam. 

"He's a solid player. It's fun to watch him play and go out there and compete every day," Rojas said. 

San Francisco selected Duggar in the sixth round of the 2015 MLB Draft out of Clemson. Between Advanced Single-A in San Jose and Double-A with the Richmond Flying Squirrels, Duggar hit .302 with 10 home runs and 15 stolen bases while playing center field in 2016. So far with San Jose this season though, Duggar is primarily playing right field. The change isn't permanent and only shows his versatility to Rojas. 

"He’s one of those guys who’s a really good athlete and can play all three positions in the outfield," Rojas said. 

Once he became healthy, Duggar joined another Giants top prospect, Bryan Reynolds, in San Jose's outfield. And like Duggar, center field is Reynolds' first position, but he's been seeing a lot of time in the corners too. 

"I think it's too early to dictate if he'll be in a corner or center," Rojas believes. "He's really good and he has the tools to play center field. He's got speed and he's got range. He can do really well in all three." 

After starting in left field Thursday night, Reynolds has now played 45 games in center, 24 in right and five in left field this season.

At the plate, Reynolds, who was the Giants' lone representative at the Futures Game this year, is slashing .300/.348/.448 in 80 games. He has also hit five home runs, eight triples and 18 doubles. As he becomes stronger and continues to mature, Rojas thinks Reynolds' power will be unleashed with five-tool potential. 

"Yeah, no doubt about it. The power's gonna come," Rojas said. "First of all, he's a good hitter. I believe that will come around later on and he can hit already. He hasn't shown that much, but it will come." 

The key for Reynolds to climb up the ranks is a simple concept and no different than any other prospect. 

"Just be consistent, it's the most important thing in this business," Rojas said. "It is baseball. You're going to be hot for one month and then go into a slump. Consistency will come with better mechanics and an approach at the plate.

"The kid has been very solid here and very consistent with his approach at the plate. He has the tools."

Rounding out San Jose's stacked outfield is the speedy Ronnie Jebavy, Gio Brusa (second on the team with 11 home runs) and Heath Quinn, who Rojas sees as having big-league pop in his bat. 

"The power is there, he’s one of those big-tool players," Rojas says of Quinn. 

While the Giants have gone through a grueling game of outfield musical chairs in San Francisco this season, a bright future awaits just a drive away in San Jose. 

Down on the Farm: San Jose Giants now stacked with 2016 outfield draft talent

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Jared Ravich/MiLB.com

Down on the Farm: San Jose Giants now stacked with 2016 outfield draft talent

Health delayed the inevitable, but now over two weeks into May, the San Jose Giants’ outfield is stacked with talent from the 2016 MLB Draft. 

Last June, the Giants used three of their first five picks in the draft on outfielders. San Francisco went with back-to-back outfielders — Bryan Reynolds No. 59 overall and Heath Quinn No. 95  overall — to start off their selections. Three rounds after taking Quinn, the Giants went with Gio Brusa No. 185 overall for their fifth pick in the draft. 

Reynolds and Brusa have both been on San Francisco’s Advanced Single-A affiliate since Opening Day, but Quinn had to wait his turn this year. Due to a hamate bone injury in his hand, Quinn started the season on the shelf. On Monday, Quinn was assigned to San Jose looking to soar in the outfield with Brusa and Reynolds. 

Immediately, Quinn showed the impact he can make on a team. 

Quinn, 21, went 1-for-4 with a double and a strikeout Monday. In his second game with the team, Quinn finished as the only Giant with multiple hits in Tuesday’s loss, going 2-for-4 with another double and a strikeout. 

In 2016, the former Samford product forced his way to a small late-season stint with San Jose after dominating at Short Season Single-A with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. The right fielder had a .337 batting average, .423 on-base percentage and a .571 slugging percentage with nine home runs in 54 games. Across the board, he led the team in all three slash-line categories, plus doubles (19) and total bases (117). 

After Quinn’s success with the Volcanoes, he finished the final four games with the Giants and just kept on hitting. Quinn went 6-for-17 with a double, good for a .353 batting average. He is ranked the Giants’ No. 7 prospect by MLB.com and No. 16 by Baseball America. 

Reynolds, the highest ranked prospect of the three outfielders, is going through an up-and-down season so far. The center fielder started off on fire and stood at a .341 batting average after the first 10 games. Now 33 games into the season, Reynolds is down to .252 to go with a .318 on-base percentage and .356 slugging percentage. 

On a positive note, Reynolds may be finding his swing. Prior to his 0-for-3 showing Tuesday, he produced big back-to-back games on Sunday and Monday. Reynolds finished the final two games of a four-game series against the Island Empire 66ers going 4-for-9 with two doubles, a triple and a run scored. The talent is certainly there for the top pick from 2016. 

Out in left field, Brusa, a local talent from from the University of the Pacific, is off to a slow start and hasn’t hit any higher than .212 this season. Brusa has power — he was the only player to have more homers than Quinn in 2016 with the Volcanoes and has four long balls so far this year — but strikeouts are slowing him down. In 30 games, Brusa has struck out 37 percent of the time, going down 42 times in 114 at-bats. 

While Reynolds and Brusa are facing a bit of a sophomore slump, there’s plenty of season left and the third piece to the puzzle in Quinn may have arrived at the perfect time. 

Around The Horn 

— Aaron Hill began his rehab assignment with San Jose on Tuesday night. The veteran utility man went 0-for-4 as the team’s DH with three strikeouts. 

— Outfielder Austin Slater is on fire at Triple-A with the Sacramento River Cats. Slater collected two more hits Tuesday and is now batting .360 in May. 

— Kyle Crick continues to be a story to watch in Sacramento. The former top prospect has been converted from a starting pitcher to a reliever and it’s been paying off lately. Crick has tossed six straight scoreless appearances out of the bullpen. Here’s the numbers in that span: Eight innings pitched, two hits, four walks and nine strikeouts.