One of the fun things that occur early in spring camp is we as fans get see some names that we might not normally get to see. One player that signed with the Tigers in the off-season that drew little fanfare is Quentin Berry. Early in camp, Berry has shown that he can play a little bit, so I thought I would introduce him to Tigers fans in a scouting report format.
Berry was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 5th round of 2006 out of San Diego State. A left handed hitting outfielder, Berry, who is about 6’0″ and 175lbs, started his career in the New York-Penn League with the Batavia Muckdogs. His initial season was pretty rough, hitting just .219, and flashing no power, slugging just .248. In 2007, it didn’t stop the Phils from promoting Berry to low-A Lakewood, where he improved greatly. Berry hit .312, stole 55 bases, and got on base at a .395 clip. The following season was spent in the Florida State League, where Berry’s numbers took a dip but were still respectable. 2009 and 2010 were a struggle for Berry, as the strikeouts increased, and he didn’t develop any power. The Phillies essentially gave up on him, and Berry landed in Cincinnati’s organization in 2011. There he spent the majority of the season in AA at the age of 26, not really on the prospect map. Berry had a strong season in 2011, hitting .284 with an OBP of .383. Berry flashed a little pop and stole 42 bases, making him an intriguing non roster invite for the Tigers in 2012.
Berry doesn’t have a ton of plus tools, but the one he does have is his speed. Berry possesses above average speed, and shows good instincts on the basepaths, carrying a SB success rate near 80% for his career. His speed is also an asset for him defensively, and while he can play LF and CF, he is a more natural center fielder. His speed helps him track down balls in the gap, and he plays the baseball hit over his head well. His arm strength is average, and he has worked hard to become an average thrower from the CF position. He isn’t going to throw many out, but he shows good instincts and can go get the baseball in the gaps.
Offensively, his biggest weakness is power. Berry isn’t the type of guy that is going to be hitting the ball over fences for a living, but could potentially leg out some extra hits with his wheels. There are some definite holes in his swing, and despite the fact that he can draw some walks, he can be beat with a good breaking ball. As mentioned, he has some ability to get on base, but that would be toned down some with him facing major league pitching. He doesn’t generate a lot of bat speed and in order to succeed, he would have to cut down on his strikeouts at the big league level.
Berry does have some value defensively and with his speed, however, that value is most likely going to be as a guy on the Toledo Mud Hens roster. Berry isn’t really a prospect any longer at 27 years old, and while I don’t think a club would ever want him as a regular, he could come up and fill a spot in a pinch as an extra outfielder. I’m not confident he would be able to hit major league pitching well enough to earn a roster spot for any length of time. That being said, he is a useful organizational guy, and could provides some excitement in AAA, and who knows, might even get a quick call up if some injuries happen.