Roman Quinn comes home to play for Rays

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He’s been a BlueClaw, a Crosscutter, a Scorpion, a Thresher, an IronPig, a Jumbo Shrimp and a Storm Chaser, but mainly he’s been a Philadelphia Philly.

And now, one year after a ruptured Achilles tendon sidelined him for the season and threatened to pour career-ending rain on his major league baseball parade, Port St. Joe High School alumnus Roman Quinn is back basking in the Sunshine State’s rays, specifically the Tampa Bay Rays.

Quinn was picked up by the Rays off of free agency and joined them July 22 in an away series against the Kansas City Royals.

After being designated for assignment by the Phillies in early June, Quinn had signed a minor league deal with the Royals and had since been with their AAA affiliate, the Omaha Storm Chasers.

Quinn, 29, has gotten all of his Major League Baseball action in a Phillies uniform so far, playing 201 games with them.

In his debut season in 2016, he hit at a .263 clip, and stole five bases in the 15 games in which he appeared, considered one of the speediest players in the game.

His rocket arm and unerring fielding skills made him a reliable outfielder, as well as suiting him well during some playing time as shortstop.

In 2018 he had his best season thus far, batting .260 in 50 games as a Philly, banging out 34 hits, including four triples and two home runs, and driving in 12 home runs. 

His performance at the plate sagged in 2019 and in the shortened COVID season of 2020, although with 12 stolen bases his performance was second in the National League.

He was beset by injuries during his career - groin strains, fractured wrist and a lacerated right index finger among them - sending him often down to the minors where he excelled.

His most serious injury was in May of last season, when he injured his left Achilles tendon en route to home plate, but managed to hop across the plate to score the run before falling to the ground.

During his minor league career, which he began in 2012 after his high school career with the Tiger Sharks, Quinn was selected by the Phillies with the sixth pick of the second round, the 66th pick overall.

He went on to play for such teams as the Jersey Shore BlueClaws, the Williamsport Crosscutters, the Scottsdale Scorpions, the Reading Fightin Phils, the Clearwater Threshers, the Omaha Storm Chasers, and the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.

In 2022, for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, he had 17 at-bats in six games, and had five hits, including three doubles and a home run, for a total of two runs batted in. He walked eight times and struck out four times, and was caught stealing once. He had the highest OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) on the team.

His injury to his left Achilles has by no means put an end to his major league career, and in fact, his rebound has earned him a place as starting centerfielder for the Rays, a team that has been plagued by injuries.

He’s had a nice start back with the Rays, so far hitting at a .263 clip in his nine game appearances, with five hits at 19 at-bats, including two doubles and a game-tying triple in the seventh against Kansas City. 

Josh Weaver, a baseball aficionado and a member of the Society for American Baseball Research’s North Florida/Buck O'Neil Chapter based in Tallahassee, said he foresees Quinn getting more playing time due to center fielder, and the face of the franchise, Kevin Kiermaier having season-ending surgery. In addition, outfielder Manuel Margot has been placed on the injured list.

“The Rays are dealing with a significant number of injuries overall this season,” said Weaver. “Quinn is also a switch-hitter which gives Manager Kevin Cash the ability to place him anywhere in the lineup.”

On the local front, Quinn is being cheered on by his extended network of family and friends, including Jim McKnight, director of the Gulf County Economic Development Coalition.

“Him coming to the Rays totally excites me, I’m a Rays fan,” he said. “Roman was a great player for Port St. Joe. I watch him all the time.”

Tampa Bay, Roman Quinn, baseball

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