Giants Top 50: #15 - David Quinowski

Middle relievers get no respect in the minors, but sometimes one puts up even better stats than the closer on his team. That was the case of the undersized southpaw that helped shutdown players in the South Atlantic League. But is this young pitcher going to be able to keep it up? #15 is David Quinowski!

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Date of Birth: 04/23/1986 Position: P Height: 5'10" Weight: 170 Bats: L Throws: L
Acquired: Drafted in the 46th Round (#1384 Overall) of the 2004 Draft
2006 Stats
Augusta - Low-A 4 2 1.43 44 0 4 75.1 36 14 12 1 24 76 .145 0.72
Waikiki - HWB 2 3 4.29 17 0 1 21.0 19 10 10 1 8 23 .238 0.50

The San Francisco Giants system always seems littered with pitchers, and with their well-deserved reputation for focusing on them, that shouldn't be a surprise.  But out of the deep selection, which ones are the ones who will stand out?

Is it the pitchers with the funky motions?  The ones who take up prominent roles in their minor league bullpens or rotations?  The ones who have radar gun burning stuff?

Sometimes, it's none of these.

David Quinowski came out of Southern California's baseball scene and was a draft pick by the Giants in 2004 out of Juco power Riverside.  Quinowski took the Draft-And-Follow route, signing just before the 2005 draft and made his pro debut as a 19-year old in Salem-Keizer that fall.  The year was short, and nice but not impressive.

Enter 2006.

Quinowski simply dominated the league, putting up a better ERA that either of the closers that Augusta used most of year, Wayne Foltin (3.14) or Osiris Matos (1.76).  His strikeout rate was barely over 1 per inning pitched, but Quinowski made his biggest strides in his control.  After averaging a walk an inning in S-K, Quinowski only walked 24 in 75.1 innings.  That, combined with a ridiculously low 36 hits allowed made Quinowski's year look easy.

Compared to Mike Hampton before signing, Quinowski comes to the mound with a low 90's fastball, and has developed a slurvy breaking ball that outclassed hitters at his level.  His biggest stride has been in bringing that breaking ball under control and keeping it in the zone, or close enough to entice hitters to swing.

Quinowski did finish the year with a bit of a downer, getting hit fairly hard in Hawaiian Winter Ball, but that wasn't enough to downgrade the season he had completed.

Quinowski still has a lot to prove, mostly that his 2006 wasn't an illusion that he'll be hard-pressed to repeat at higher levels.  At 5'10", he's going to have to continuously battle against misconceptions prompted by his size.  He has probably pushed his fastball as high as it will go, but it will be his ability to throw his offspeed pitches that will ultimately decide his fate.  He can get the swing and miss on the fastball, which is a little deceptive, but his ability to keep the ball away from bats will always rely on his breaking ball.

But that's where Quinowski's year stands out, as one of the youngest players on the Augusta squad.  He will turn just 21 next year, and will start the year no lower than San Jose, helping to anchor a bullpen that's traditionally one of the best in the minors (again, thanks to the Giants' drafting strategies).  At that young age, his production is a boon, and it gives him time to have growing pains at later, more difficult levels.

Quinowski could certainly find himself in a closer's role in 2007.  The two GreenJackets who held the role won't be an issue, probably.  Foltin faltered a little in the role, and will be coming back from a late season injury.  Matos, who was added to the Giants' 40-Man roster this offseason, will likely be pushed up to Double-A.  So Quinowski should be alone in San Jose, and given a shot to close under his HWB manager, Lenn Sakata.  Whether or not he earns a midseason callup will be very interesting to see.

Check out the other prospects at the Top 50 Prospects Index!

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