The Michael Saunders acquisition by the Phillies has cemented the notion that Roman Quinn will start the 2017 season in Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
After constant rumors and speculation about which left-handed bat the Phillies might sign in free agency, they finally figured out who they wanted with the reported signing of outfielder Michael Saunders. He is expected to be the starting right fielder for the Phils.
With this signing, there will not be a battle for the right field spot between Aaron Altherr and Roman Quinn. Altherr will likely be relegated to bench as the team’s fourth outfielder. Meanwhile, the team seems to be okay with sending Quinn back to Triple-A to start the year.
While some may be fed up with signings that only delay the future of the team, having Quinn return to Triple-A actually makes sense for the team in the long-term. By doing so, Quinn will be able to improve on some of the flaws in his game.
Let’s not forget that Quinn jumped directly from Double-A to the majors at the end of last season.
His OPS of .706 in 15 major-league games doesn’t scream to me that he is fully ready in the major-leagues. Seeing how he fares in Triple-A in 2017 should allow the team – and fans – to better gauge where Quinn is in his development rather than forcing him into the majors too soon.
The biggest detraction from Quinn is his constant presence on the disabled list. In 2016 alone, Quinn missed more than a month and a half with a strained oblique as well as missing a week due to a concussion. He re-injured his oblique at the end of his stint in the major-leagues, cutting his debut short. Quinn has played in no more than 88 games in any minor-league regular season so far in his career because of his many injuries.
Beyond the injuries, Mackanin also said Quinn could stand to shorten his swing. He credited Quinn for having great power for someone of his short stature, but that “it doesn’t always play out at the major-league level.” Mackanin would like to see Quinn use the entire field, get on base, and “create some havoc.”
In the seemingly-certain event Quinn returns to Triple-A, he would join a fearsome outfield alongside Dylan Cozens and Nick Williams. Quinn would likely line up in center field and get plenty of experience there. He wouldn’t get that experience in the major-leagues with Odubel Herrera holding down that position.