Team’s Trust in Roman Quinn Points to Overlooked Status

Roman Quinn was drafted by the Phillies in the second round of the first-year player draft, on June 2, 2011. The team drafted the speedy high school shortstop with the 66th overall pick, the one gained as compensation for the Nationals’ signing of Jayson Werth the previous offseason. On June 2, 2011, the Phillies were 34-22, with the best record in the National League. They held a two game lead for that title over the Florida Marlins.

The night before the draft the Phillies had lost 2-1 to the Nationals, leaving Roy Oswalt saddled with the tough luck loss. The night after the draft, Jimmy Rollins stole two bases and Chase Utley knocked him in as the go-ahead run in support of Cole Hamels‘ eight inning gem. Danys Baez would lose the game in the twelfth. Antonio Bastardo and Michael Stutes relieved in both games. Mickey Moniak had turned 13 years old just two weeks earlier.

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The Final Piece: A Farewell To Ryan Howard

We knew it was coming. We’ve expected for at least a year that Ryan Howard would be the last man standing and now the time has arrived to say goodbye. There are less than twenty games remaining for the Phillies this year which means there are less than twenty games remaining in Howard’s Phillies career. It’s been a tortuously long and painful farewell as Howard’s performance on the field never rebounded from the Achilles’ injury he suffered in the final seconds of the 2011 NLDS. But instead of dwelling on the bad, we’re finally at a point where we can look at Ryan Howard and focus on the joy he brought to the city of Philadelphia.

It’s not easy to isolate a single favorite memory of Howard’s Phillies career. For me, my absolutely favorite thing about watching him play was more of a feeling than a single moment. For half a decade, every time Howard stepped to the plate you felt as though greatness was possible. When Howard took a swing and connected with a baseball, he hit the ball harder and further more consistently than anyone I’d ever watched in a Phillies uniform. He was among the most feared hitters in baseball and for good reason. He’s always been a one-dimensional player, but during the glory years that one-dimension was more than enough. He was a power threat that made it impossible to ever give up on a Phillies game. Howard could — and did — deliver heroic game-tying or go-ahead home runs at any time. He made the game fun, he made the Phillies fun, and he made the impossible possible.

Ryan Howard has hit 378 home runs for the Phillies — 386 including the postseason — which means great moments are easy to come by in reflecting on his career and the Phillies audiovisual team will never struggle to find enough material to build highlight reels for the copious tributes to Howard and the 2008 Phillies that surely await us in the coming years. I have found, however, that there is one moment that stands out for me as most representative of the greatness Ryan Howard was capable of creating.

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A Crashburn Changeover

When I joined Crashburn Alley two and a half years ago, I had the pleasure of joining a writing crew of Michael Baumann, Paul Boye, Eric Longenhagen, Ryan Sommers and, of course, our bossman, Bill Baer. Over time I’ve watched as each of them has moved on and today, it’s time for me to do the same. Tomorrow I will be starting a new job writing for MLB.com’s Cut4 site which means this is my penultimate piece at Crashburn Alley.

I’ve deeply enjoyed the opportunity to talk about Phillies baseball with you over the past few years and cannot thank you, the readers, enough for helping create a community which makes Crashburn such a tremendous place to write. It’s not easy for me to say goodbye, but I am excited that my moving on means someone else has the opportunity to step up. We are absolutely thrilled to announce that Crashburn Alley isn’t going anywhere thanks to our new editor-in-chief, Spencer Bingol.

You’ve likely read some of Spencer’s excellent work here at Crashburn, but he’s also been a stellar writer and editor for Beyond The Box Score. I have full confidence in his ability to step up to the plate, as it were, and I cannot wait to see what he does with the place. I only ask that you treat him as well as you have treated me.

I want to thank our current writing staff, Adam Dembowitz, Brad Engler, Tim Guenther, Ben Harris, Michael Schickling, and Dave Tomar for their many contributions to the site. Additionally, I need to thank Bill Baer first for giving me the opportunity to start writing about baseball and then for trusting me to manage the site that he spent so many years building.

As I said up top, this is my penultimate post. Rather than making a self-indulgent note my final word, I’ll say goodbye to the site with a more baseball-relevant farewell which you will be able to read later this morning.

Thanks again to all of you. If you want to keep in touch, I’ll still be around on Twitter (@crashlandrey) and if you want to keep reading my work you can do so at Cut4 where I’ll be working full-time and at FanGraphs where I’ll now be contributing once a week.