Phillies Prospect #15: Quintin Berry

Quintin Berry started his pro career slowly, but picked up definite speed in 2007 with a breakout year at Lakewood, earning him the Minor League Player of the Year Award from Philly Baseball News. So, what lies ahead for Berry in 2008?

Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the 5th round of the 2006 Draft.

B: L T: L / Height: 6' 0" / Weight: 170 lbs.

Birth Date:  November 21, 1984

2007 Team: Lakewood

Positions Played in 2007:  CF (93 g), LF (34 g)

School: San Diego State

Last Year's Ranking: 46

Why he moved from #46 to #15: We're generally pretty cautious with first year players, which is what Quintin Berry was when we put together last year's rankings. Plus, his first year numbers weren't very exciting. In 2007, Berry was exciting. In fact, he was one of the most exciting players in the organization to watch and his numbers took a huge jump. The fact that he wasn't moved to Clearwater by the end of the season was a little disappointing, but like us, the Phillies are sometimes too cautious with young players. He'll move on to Clearwater in 2008 and if the numbers and style of play are anything like we saw last season, Berry is going to keep moving up the charts. His 2007 effort earned him the Philly Baseball News Minor League Player of the Year Award.

Batting and Power:  Berry has no ill effects of the labrum surgery that he had to undergo in college and last year's swings showed the fact that he was truly healthy again. Most scouts believe that as Berry gains more confidence with a wooden bat, his power numbers should climb, although it's unlikely that he'll ever be a prolific home run hitter. What he will be is a guy who knows how to get on base, whether by drawing a walk, roping a hit through the infield or laying down a bunt and once he gets on base, his speed takes over from there. Last season, Berry finished with a .386 OBP and that was with 85 strikeouts, which is a little higher than the Phillies figure he'll eventually be producing once he truly settles in at the plate.

Baserunning and Speed: It's possible that Berry is the fastest - if not, one of the three fastest - runners in the organization. It's also very possible that he's the smartest baserunner in the organization and that's evidenced by the fact that he swiped 55 bases last season, getting caught just 18 times for a 75% success rate. While much of baserunning is pure speed, a good chunk of it is also learned and Berry is a student of running the bases and using his speed well. As long as he can keep his OBP high enough, he has the kind of speed that might allow him to win some stolen base crowns before all is said and done. In fact, he won his first stolen base crown in 2007, leading the South Atlantic League in stolen bases. Defensively, his speed is combined with good defensive instincts and he gets to a lot of balls hit over his head and into the gaps.

Defense: With Berry's speed, the Phillies were wasting him in left field and his long-term home should be in center. He has the skills to play either position and handle them well, but goes back on balls very well and covers the gaps with little problem. His arm is about average, but not strong enough to play right field consistently. Again though, he's smart enough to know his limitations and doesn't throw the ball away or try to do too much and put himself in trouble.

Projection: Quintin Berry loves to play the game of baseball and has the tools and the willingness to learn that it will take to succeed. Clearwater and Reading are going to be tests for him, but there is no reason why he shouldn't be able to conquer both levels without too much of a learning curve. With a little more success at higher levels, he'll jump up the depth chart quickly and projects to be an everyday Major League center fielder at this point in his career, but keep in mind, that it's early.

ETA: Don't figure on Berry hitting Philadelphia before 2010 because there's still a lot for him to learn. Aaron Rowand defecting to the San Francisco Giants could make the Phillies want to push Berry a little because only Greg Golson is really ahead of him right now from the minor league ranks and the Phillies will have some question marks with Pat Burrell becoming a free agent at the end of the season and no guarantees on how the tandem of Jayson Werth and Geoff Jenkins will perform in right field.

Comparison: While he doesn't have the power of Aaron Rowand, Berry has all the other features, including the leadership abilities. Some believe that his style of play compares nicely with that of Lenny Dykstra, but he doesn't have quite the grit and outer fire that Dykstra displayed. His personality is much more subdued and he prefers to simply go out on the field and get it done there.

What else you should know about Quintin Berry: 

  • His college coach at San Diego State was Tony Gwynn.

Quintin Berry's career stats

2006 Batavia 0 13 .219 62 210 34 46 2 2 19 25 51 .314 .248
2007 Lakewood 3 44 .312 126 487 86 152 19 4 55 61 85 .395 .386
TOTALS 3 57 .284 188 697 120 198 21 6 74 86 136 .371 .344

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