Purgatory Online

Monday, August 09, 2004

Everybody's been surprised by the sudden emergence of Robb Quinlan as an offensive force at third base. After a couple of years of riding the Salt-Lake-to-Anaheim shuttle, Quinlan seems determined to stay up with the big club. So far, his 2004 numbers with the Angels:

.336 BA, .391 OBP, .518 SLG, 137 AB, 46 H, 13 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 22 K, 3 SB, 1 CS.

That's some pretty fair hitting, albeit in just 137 at-bats. Quinlan is a right-handed hitter who simply murders lefties (.380/.448/.620 in 50 AB), but is pretty good against righties, too (.310/.355/.460 in 87 AB). His contributions have taken some (but not nearly all) of the sting out of Glaus's season-ending injury. Among regular AL third basemen (which he isn't, really, but never mind that for right now), Quinlan ranks second in batting average (to Melvin Mora), is tied with Kevin Youkilis for third in OBP (behind Mora and Eric Chavez), and is fourth in SLG (behind Mora, Chavez, and Alex Rodriguez). In the first two statistics, Quinlan is actually performing better than Glaus did before he went down (Glaus was .296/.387/.694 in 108 AB).

The obvious question, of course, is "how long can he keep this up?"

Well, let's see. Quinlan is 27 years old, and won't be 28 until March. Statistically, he's about to enter the most productive phase of his career. He also has a history of progressing through the Angels' farm system at a remarkably stable pace:

1999 - Boise (Northwest League - Rookie) - .322/.394/.488
2000 - Lake Elsinore (California League - High-A) - .317/.401/.442
2001 - Arkansas (Texas League - AA) - .295/.363/.476
2002 - Salt Lake (PCL - AAA) - .333/.381/.555
2003 - Salt Lake (PCL - AAA) - .310/.328/.445
2003 - Anaheim (AL) - .287/.330/.372

Looking at those numbers, it's hard to say that Quinlan's performance thus far isn't a little out of line with what one would expect. Not way, way out of line, you understand, but some.

Interestingly, however, Quinlan's numbers over his career compare fairly well with Dallas McPherson's, with the exception of the phenomenal slugging stats McPherson is posting in Salt Lake this year. McPherson, of course, just turned 24 a month or so ago, and so is rightly considered a better prospect than Quinlan - but certainly the Angels do not seem to be in a situation in which they have to rush McPherson up in a desperate bid to stay in the pennant race. And, while McPherson continues to improve in the minors, Quinlan can be given a chance to show that he's having a breakthrough season, instead of just having an unusually productive stretch.