Sometimes, starting over is not the worst idea, and for San Francisco Giants prospect Heath Quinn, doing made all the difference. After a subpar 2017 season, the 23-year-old native of Birmingham, Alabama sought the advice of his college coach at Samford University, Casey Dunn.
“I went back to some basics I was doing in college,” Quinn said. “I was just getting back to my swing there, trying to have some quality at-bats everyday. It is a long season, so you just have to grind it out.”
Quinn finished 2017, his first full season in pro ball, with a .228 average in 272 at-bats for Class-A Advanced San Jose. The Giants No. 10 prospect according to MLB Pipeline said he did not get away from his approach, but injuries prevented him from getting consistent at-bats and capitalizing on short periods of success.
In a year where his OPS dropped from .998 in his pro debut in 2016 to .661, Quinn missed significant time with a hamate injury. He got back on the field and found his swing, hitting .293 in May and .281 in June. But, then shoulder problems sidelined him again, and he was not the same the rest of the year.With advice from his college coach, @SFGiants prospect @HeathQuinn9 rediscovered himself at the plate in 2018. @joejacquezaz talked to the outfielder at the Arizona Fall League events.Click To Tweet
“I don’t blame that on my hitting or everything, but it was just a weird year in that aspect,” Quinn said. “I was trying to do a few different things at the plate, and I was a little confused at what I was trying to do.”
So, Quinn went back to work the ensuing offseason. He simplified his mechanics and it paid off. In 2018, Quinn showed more discipline at the plate, along with contact and power to all fields. In 96 games, despite missing a month to a hamstring injury, Quinn hit .300 with 14 home runs and 51 RBI.
At the end of the day, Quinn stuck with what he does best and it paid dividends. Despite only hitting .222 in 12 games for the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League, he will stick to his approach with the hope of carrying the momentum he built in the minors last season into possibly a career defining 2019.
“I just want to hit something hard, somewhere in the gap and hopefully everything else works out from there,” Quinn said.
Quinn is leaving the Fall League early to get married, and he knows her continued support will help make his dream of playing in the big leagues one day a reality.
“She has been a big supporter since we started dating back in high school,” Quinn said. “It is always comforting having her there, being there for me whether I do good or bad.”