“You only get one chance to make a first impression” is a favorite saying of mine. Another one is “You know major league talent when you see it”. Today was the first time I have seen Roman Quinn in a game. I was impressed and he is definitely the Phillies shortstop of the future. Especially with Freddy Galvis now moving to second base because of Chase Utley’s knee problems.
Running a little late Baseball Betsy and I made it in time to the complex to see Quinn bat twice and make a nice play at short. The first time up he walked on five pitches and then on his second at bat he pulled a fast ball into the hole for an rbi single to right. In the field he went deep in the hole at short to glove a ball. He juggled it but recovered to make a strong throw to just nip the runner at first. He showed range and a strong arm on that play. The switch hitting Quinn made me think back to 1999 in Harrisburg when I first saw another switch hitting short stop play for the first time with the Reading Phillies, Jimmy Rollins.
While the short stop of the future might be decided in the Phillies organization other positions are wide open. I have been following the third base situation in the minor league camp this spring. With the Phillies incumbent third baseman, Placido Polanco, 36 years of age and his contract up the end of the season the Front Office has drafted heavily at third base. Left handed bats Cody Asche and Mitchell Walding along with Trey Ford were drafted last year all have played at third so far in Camp. Also put international free agent Mikael Franco who played at Williamsport and Lakewood last season into the mix at third and even Tim Kennelly who was a catcher the last two seasons and has been moved to third this spring must be considered. He might be the third baseman at AA this season. From this group of prospects the Front Office hopes one will emerge as the Phillies third baseman of the future.
In today’s game Trey Ford was at third in the Clearwater game on Ashburn Field and Mitch Walding was at third on Schmidt Field in the Lakewood game today. Ford lined a double to right center and Walding showed promise at the bat and in the field too. All of them appeared to have potential to hit in the major leagues. I want to see if they can field at the major league level. One of the plot lines of this minor league season will be which one of these third basemen will emerge as the third baseman of the future.
Today’s game also gave a glimpse into the potential future catcher of the Phillies. Carlos Ruiz just turned 33 and is under team control for next season. How much longer he will be the Phillies number one catcher remains to be seen. Two catchers who I believe have major league potential are Cameron Rupp who caught for the Clearwater team and left handed hitting catcher Logan Moore who caught for the Lakewood team in Tuesday’s games. Along with Sebastian Valle, these three catchers will be the ones to watch this season to see which one will emerge as the heir apparent to Chooch.
It’s always a lot of fun watching the A ball level minor league games. You try to project which players have the potential to play in the major leagues in the future. The players mentioned above all have that potential. The only one thing I am sure of after Tuesday’s games is that young 18 year old Roman Quinn will be the odds on choice to be the starting shortstop for the Phillies when Jimmy Rollins retires after the next three or four seasons.