Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News arrow-downArrow Down icon Arrow Up icon

Quinn dazzles teammates as fastest in MLB

@ToddZolecki
August 26, 2020

Roman Quinn is running faster than ever. He feels it, too. His average sprint speed is 30.4 feet per second, which makes him the fastest player in the Major Leagues, according to Statcast. Nobody else is better than 29.9 feet per second. Quinn flashed his speed in Tuesday’s 8-3 victory

Roman Quinn is running faster than ever. He feels it, too.

His average sprint speed is 30.4 feet per second, which makes him the fastest player in the Major Leagues, according to Statcast. Nobody else is better than 29.9 feet per second. Quinn flashed his speed in Tuesday’s 8-3 victory over the Nationals at Nationals Park. He bunted for a single in the seventh, stole second, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on a grounder to shortstop Trea Turner -- with the infield playing in -- making an evasive slide to beat the tag from Kurt Suzuki.

Plays at the plate are about the only moments when things slow down for Quinn.

Is it like “The Matrix"?

“It’s funny that you say that,” Quinn said Wednesday afternoon. “It definitely slows down. It slows down a lot, just because I pay more attention to the position of the catcher and how he’s catching the ball and how I can beat him to home plate without him tagging me. It kind of brings me to my football days of just slipping a tackle and trying to beat that guy to the end zone.”

Quinn’s sprint speed averaged 30.1 feet per second in 2019 and 30.2 feet per second in ‘18. He ranked fifth and second in the Majors in those seasons, respectively. Asked if he can feel the difference between an extra 3.6 inches per second, he said he can.

“I do feel like I’m moving a little faster,” he said.

Quinn thinks he is because he is lighter. He weighs between 170-173 pounds, compared to 175-180 pounds in the past.

Is it cool to be the fastest player in baseball? Of course it is. Especially when it is indisputable. Usain Bolt knew he was the fastest runner in the world because everybody was timed. Everybody in baseball is timed, too.

“That means a lot,” Quinn said. “That’s one thing that you always care about being a speedster -- where you rank among the fastest in the league.”

As a team, the Phillies are 18-for-20 (88.9 percent) on stolen-base attempts, which is the best percentage in the big leagues. Quinn is 5-for-5.

“I put in a lot of work,” he said. “I’m always reading scouting reports. [First-base/baserunning coach] Paco [Figueroa] will always send me, especially starting pitchers, their times before the game, their [pick-off] move. He also lets me know that when I’m on first base. I’m always aware and trying to utilize stuff like that during the game.

“I’m just out there playing and reacting. Then once I get in the dugout, my teammates will look at me like ‘Did you really just do that?’ Then it kind of hits me. It’s a blessing to have speed and I’m thankful for it. Thankful for my parents for it, too.”

Davis traded to Pittsburgh
The Phillies traded left-hander Austin Davis to the Pirates for a player to be named later and cash considerations. Davis, 27, had a 21.00 ERA in four appearances this season. He was designated for assignment on Saturday.

The reason behind it
Manager Joe Girardi called in Tommy Hunter from the bullpen to face Asdrúbal Cabrera with two outs and a runner on first in the sixth inning Tuesday. Cabrera had entered the matchup hitting .529 (9-for-17) with four doubles and five RBIs in his career against Hunter.

Why Hunter in that spot?

Girardi’s answers revealed something that is often forgotten when a manager makes in-game decisions, whether it be a pitching change, a pinch-hitting opportunity or anything else: There is always a reason. In this case, Girardi liked Hunter’s strengths vs. Cabrera’s weaknesses. He also dismissed their history.

“That goes all the way back to 2009,” Girardi said. “There’s a lot that has happened since 2009 to both players. Tommy used to throw 98 mph. Cabrera was probably much different, as well. I mean, I know there’s some history in the last three years. He’s had some hits, but they’ve been mistakes that Tommy’s made in the zone that we recognized, and we just thought it was a good matchup.”

Cabrera had faced Hunter just three times since 2016. He had a single and a double in three plate appearances against him in ‘18. Cabrera hit neither ball hard: the single had an exit velocity of 86.9 mph and the double was 88.6 mph off the bat.

The double had a .074 expected batting average.

“We dive deeper than the numbers,” Girardi said. “I dive into how hard balls are hit. That can tell you a lot about a matchup, too. I just thought that Tommy was up to the task.”

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook .