The Philadelphia Phillies may eventually end up with more starting caliber outfielders than they can play, but the organization appears to be doing everything in their power to maximize their options for the future in the meantime.
According to Matt Breen of Philly.com, the Phillies have begun acclimating prospect Roman Quinn, currently with Double-A Reading, to the corner outfield positions:
Roman Quinn's first double-A start in right field last week ended with his throwing out three baserunners. That position, Quinn joked afterward with Reading manager Dusty Wathan, is now his favorite.
Quinn - who had converted two years ago from shortstop to centerfielder - is learning how to play left and right fields as the Phillies look to add versatility to his game.
Quinn, according to MLB Pipeline, is the Phillies eighth best prospect. When he's been on the field, he's demonstrated an ability to potentially be a leadoff hitter and elite base-stealer. The first problem for him is that injuries have limited his ability to consistently be on the field, with the 88 games that he played for the Clearwater Threshers in 2014 representing his high mark for games played in a season.
Even should he stay healthy, the Phillies already have both Odubel Herrera and Aaron Altherr at the major league level, both of whom have at least demonstrated the potential to be long-term starting outfielders. Both also can play center field. And Quinn's injuries have allowed four other outfield prospect to pass him on MLB Pipeline's top prospect list, with Mickey Moniak, Nick Williams, Cornelius Randolph and Dylan Cozens all above him now, and all eventually likely to compete for corner outfield positions at the major league level. While it's true that Moniak and Randolph are years away from reaching the major leagues, Williams and Cozens aren't, and both have also earned consideration as potential long-term starting outfielders with the club.
While adding two more positions to his repertoire seems to make him more valuable to the organization, Quinn's future may come down to a few other things. The first, of course, is whether he ever demonstrates the ability to consistently stay healthy. The second may be whether the Phillies can ever envision both him or Odubel Herrera playing in the same outfield. Herrera has regressed as a fielder in his second season, while his bat has faltered after a strong first half, but if Herrera refines his approach and continues to get more comfortable in the outfield, he probably has more pop in his bat, which may ultimately allow him to push Quinn into either being a bench player or a trade chip. It's entirely possible that Herrera and Quinn become this era's version of Shane Victorino and Michael Bourn, in the sense that both end up helping the team to compete, but one as an All-Star for the team and the other as a trade piece that helps to acquire a player that fills a different void.