Phillies

Phillies

The ever-exciting Roman Quinn was in the Phillies' lineup Saturday, a night after delivering two huge ninth-inning insurance runs and leaving his feet to make an impressive catch on the warning track in left-center field.

Quinn batted ninth against the Marlins and got the nod in center field with Odubel Herrera given a night off.

You've probably never read anything about Quinn that didn't include the words, "if he stays healthy." So let's get that out of the way up front.

When healthy, Quinn is a dynamic player who can help any team and could start for many. The Phillies have a crowded outfield picture, so Gabe Kapler has to pick his spots with the speedy switch-hitter. 

This weekend, Quinn could get back-to-back starts. With the Phillies facing lefty Wei-Yin Chen on Sunday, Kapler said he could start Quinn Sunday and sit Nick Williams.

This last week has provided a glimpse into Quinn's all-around ability. There's so much to like about this 25-year-old. 

"He is an elite, elite athlete," Kapler said, adding that he never played with anyone with as much athleticism.

"I don't think there's a situation that feels too big to him. There's no doubt in any of our minds that he can play on a regular basis, but also in the role he's going to be in for us which is pinch-hit, pinch-run, play defense. Having all of our outfielders understand that and then have Quinn spot-start when it's appropriate. It's just the right role for him right now."

 

Honestly, the Phillies could use Quinn's energy atop the lineup right now. Though Cesar Hernandez still has a .368 OBP, it feels as though he hasn't done anything in two months. 

Hernandez has hit .154 over his last dozen games and .227/.336/.268 since July 1. He hasn't looked the same since taking a painful foul ball off the foot in Pittsburgh on July 6. He, too, could be a candidate to sit Sunday.

When you add in the up-and-down nature of Odubel Herrera's game — offensively and defensively — there are legitimate ways Quinn could help this club with regular playing time.

"Quinny deserves an opportunity to play. We're going to be leaning on Odubel heavily down the stretch and need him fresh and healthy. Also, we need Quinn to get a look," Kapler said.

"You just kind of naturally feel [his energy] when he goes on the field. It's kind of fun to watch, you're excited about what's going to happen next. I guess what we all root for most is that he puts the ball in play so we can see him run. 

"Billy Hamilton's probably the closest but I'm not sure there's anybody that's faster than Roman. I'm not sure Billy's even faster."

Quinn was caught stealing twice at Fenway Park earlier this week in his only two attempts. He got good jumps both times but was simply a victim of perfect pop times and perfect throws from Red Sox catchers Sandy Leon and Blake Swihart.

But you can be sure the Phillies will place no limitations on Quinn when he reaches first base. Kapler wants him to run and to run early in counts.

"He understands how fast he is and how gifted he is athletically," the manager said. "Every facet of his game, from what he does at the plate to what he does on defense, what he does on the bases, we all see that athleticism pop out at us.

"He knows that his body staying healthy is the key to him being a star player in the major leagues. ... He's so fast-twitched, he slides so hard, he runs so hard. He's kind of wound tight."

Quinn picked up his first stolen base of the season Saturday night against the Marlins and it was key. Not only did he swipe the bag easily, but his speed distracted Marlins reliever Jarlin Garcia and paved the way to a mistake pitch that Hernandez took deep.

"He steals second base in the sixth inning of a game. Garcia's on the mound and Garcia's paying very close attention to him and delivers a pitch he probably didn't want to deliver," Kapler said after the Phils' 8-3 win. "It was at least in part because he was so concerned with Quinny on the bases."

Speed kills.

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