Roman Quinn. Fast outfielder. Defensive liability. Mediocre batter. Starting centerfielder? Yup, you heard that right.
In just under three weeks, the Phillies will take the field against the Atlanta Braves in front of 8,800 fans, and the season will begin anew. On that day, it will be Roman Quinn starting in centerfield for the Phillies. That is right, the same Roman Quinn that is constantly crashing into walls, getting injured, and making poor baserunning decisions will get the job. While many fans will be surprised by this, here is why Roman Quinn will (inevitably) win the starting centerfield job.
What About the Other Candidates?
Heading into Spring Training, Adam Haseley was the candidate that most people would have bet on to win the starting centerfielder job. The 2017 first-round draft pick out of Virginia, Haseley has played in 107 games for the Phillies over the 2019-20 seasons while knocking up a serviceable .712 OPS. He has not been the best player, but he has the time. Haseley turns 25 next month and still has plenty of time to develop his career even further.
Haseley, however, did strain his groin a week ago and will not be ready for Opening Day. Could he usurp Quinn when he returns healthy? Possibly, but Haseley does not start on Opening Day.
Moniak is the fan-favorite selection right now for starting centerfielder. Moniak has barreled the ball like no one else this Spring Training. He has smacked two home runs and has hit for four extra-base hits overall. The former first overall draft pick appeared in eight games last year for the Phillies after having supposed to have taken the year at AAA Lehigh. Moniak appears to have taken some lessons to heart this offseason, and has shown up to camp ready to claim the starting centerfielder job.
Except the Phillies will not let him do so. Whether it be blatant roster manipulation or in the name of letting him develop in Lehigh, Moniak will be the starting centerfielder for the Iron Pigs to start the year. Letting Moniak develop another season in Lehigh may yield positive results, but Moniak has entered into camp proving that he is the man for the job. And yet, Moniak is beginning to disappear from the Phillies’ starting lineup. Today, Kingery, Herrera, Quinn, and Jankowski were all in the starting lineup. It appears that the Phillies are beginning to narrow their sights in centerfield. And instead of being the last man standing, Moniak may be among the first to be eliminated.
Herrera came into Spring Training hot but has cooled down as of late. He has four hits in 15 AB’s so far. Of course, his performance on the field only goes so far as to help him make the Opening Day roster. Since his domestic abuse case in May of 2019, Herrera has (rightfully so) faced punishment for his actions. He was suspended throughout the rest of the 2019 season and has not been allowed a chance to start in Philadelphia since.
Everyone agrees that what Herrera did was wrong. He served the punishment alotted to him by the Phillies and Major League Baseball. As a Christian, I believe in second chances, in grace, in mercy. But I am not everyone. There are people who have been hurt in incidents similar to what Herrera has done. I cannot imagine that pain, but I respect it and the opinions of those who have been hurt. Many in the city of Philadelphia will not be able to forgive Herrera, let alone cheer for him. There is a saying:
“Old sins cast long shadows”
Herrera’s old sins have cast a long shadow upon him. He will continue to feel the consequences of his actions for years to come. And while he has done everything he can to earn a second chance, he may not get one. Perhaps the only chance Herrera has for a true second chance in baseball is a fresh start in another city. It would be in the Phillies’ best interests, as well as Herrera’s best interests, to find a suitable trade partner that is willing to give Herrera a chance.
Scott Kingery and Travis Jankowksi
I am lumping these two players together because, while their stories are different, I believe that both of them will be a part of the Phillies’ bench on Opening Day. Kingery has had a subpar Spring Training, but his versatility will prove essential in a bench role this season.
Jankowski, meanwhile, has gone 4-for-12 this Spring Training. The journeyman is trying the best he can to earn a spot with the Phillies this season. The Lancaster journeyman will return home this season and could be an important part of the Phillies’ bench this season.
Roman Quinn: Last Man Standing
Roman Quinn has faired well this Spring Training, going 5-for-13 with one stolen base. The speedy outfielder has a lot to prove going into the 2021 season, but he just might win the starting centerfield job by default when the Phillies look around and realize that there is no one left to claim the job.
Photo Credit: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire