For Berry, the toughest part of all the adjusting was simply getting used to being a professional ball player. "It was a pretty big adjustment," said Berry about his first season of pro ball. "I had to deal with a bit of failure, but I made it through." The ‘failure' came in the numbers that Berry put up at Batavia, hitting just .219 in 62 games. The numbers were nowhere near what Berry is capable of doing and he set out to prove that this season. The sometimes cautious Phillies realized that Berry was a better player than he showed at Batavia and rather than have him hang out in Clearwater waiting to return to short-season ball, they gave him a promotion to Lakewood to see what would happen. While the difference wasn't immediately apparent – Berry was hitting just .238 on May 20th – patience has paid off well and Berry has consistently raised his average to where he's hitting .307 on the season now.
Again, it was all just part of those ever present adjustments.
"Pitchers have a little more command over the plate as opposed to short-season," believes Berry. "I just try to have an area to look for and if they stay in that area, I just go ahead and try to hit it." It took Berry a little time to realize that pitchers at the A-ball level aren't just trying to throw; they're concerned about more than just showing off their arm and bring more weapons to every contest.
If Berry makes hitting sound pretty simple, it could be because of who helped him to learn the art; Hall of Fame electee Tony Gwynn. Berry played for Gwynn at San Diego State and wouldn't trade the experience for anything in the world. "I pretty much model my game after all he taught me, but the biggest thing that he taught me is that you can pretty much make this game work for you if you let the game come to you," said the 22 year old Berry. When he says that he models his game after Gwynn, Berry doesn't just follow what he was taught at the plate. He takes it to the outfield and on the basepaths.
With 35 steals, Berry has a comfortable edge for the organizational lead in stolen bases, leading Greg Golson 35 to 24 on the year. For Berry, his learning from Gwynn has taught him well about the art of stealing bases. "There's a lot more to it [than just speed], especially being a guy who's becoming a lot more known for stealing bases. You have to learn to adjust to pitchers and catchers and understand when to go," remarked Berry. He believes the learning doesn't stop though and he's striving for potential. "I've been caught 13 times and that's 13 too many," said Berry. "You've kind of got to pick better times to go and know your pitchers and their times going to home."
If it's perfection that Berry is striving for, his defense is very close. Berry played left field just once last season at Batavia, but has split his time between left and center this year with the BlueClaws. Even so, his defense hasn't looked like that of a player making yet another adjustment in his career and he's made just one error on the season. He also made just two errors last season with Batavia.
For Quintin Berry, there is a lot of baseball ahead. With the numbers that he's put up so far at Lakewood, a late summer move to Clearwater wouldn't be out of the question, but that's not something that Berry is concerned about right now. "We've got a great bunch of guys up there [Clearwater] who are playing well and playing hard, so if I get the opportunity to go up there, I'd love to go, but it's out of my control," said Berry. Much like his approach to hitting, Berry's approach to the rest of the season is simple. "If I stay here, then I'll just try to finish up strong here."
Audio Extra: Quintin Berry was a guest on Philly Baseball News Radio, heard every Saturday morning at 9 a.m. on AM 1230 and 1320 in Easton, Pennsylvania. Here is the interview that host Chuck Hixson did with Berry on July 7, 2007.