Quintin Berry: Just Outside the Baltimore Orioles’ Nest


Sep 14, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles pinch runner Quintin Berry (34) is congratulated by J.J. Hardy (2) after scoring in the ninth inning against the New York Yankees at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles defeated the Yankees 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Quintin Berry of the Baltimore Orioles just turned age 30 last Friday. As someone facing an even larger round-number birthday, they aren’t exactly welcomed! And this one for Berry must have been frustrating to the speedy outfielder who has for so long been playing baseball just on the edge of “making it.”

There is a phrase that is used primarily about women who are aging toward 30 and who, for whatever reason, are still single, yet have a desire to have children. It is said that their “biological clock is ticking.” Well, there is a sort of baseball biological clock also; and at age 30, a player who has lived on the fringes has to wonder what the chances are for really and finally breaking through.

Berry has had a lot of success at AAA and in his limited MLB experiences, mostly with the Tigers in 2012, where he hit .258 in 94 games while also swiping 21 bases. He was a part of their playoff run and eventual loss to the Giants in the World Series, batting 5-for-29 through those games.

Beyond that, his limited plate appearances are with Boston in 2013 where he was a late-season call-up who went 5-for-8. He was a part of the Champion Red Sox through the playoffs, stealing one base in each of the three series. And with the Baltimore Orioles this past season, he appeared in 10 games, mostly as a pinch-runner.

But the most amazing statistic is that he is a perfect 25-for-25 in stolen base attempts. I don’t even know how to research this quickly, but I would bet that there is not another player in baseball history who had attempted at least 25 swipes and had a perfect record doing it. (His career minor league number is 316-for-397; and at AAA Norfolk in 2014 it was 25-for-31.)

So does Adam Jones’ high school teammate and friend have a chance of playing with the Baltimore Orioles in 2015?  Though not impossible, I am afraid it does not look good. Even if the O’s don’t re-sign Markakis or secure Nelson Cruz, Delmon Young or some corner outfield free agent, there is likely still Alejandro De Aza, Steve Pearce, and David Lough in front of him.

It is all really too bad, because the Orioles – who finished dead last in the American League in stolen basis in 2014 – could surely benefit from some more speed on the team. But with the Orioles, as with everywhere else in his career, there are just enough guys with more pop, or more perceived upside potential to keep Berry’s considerable talents just over the line and out on the fringe … or in the case of the Orioles, outside the nest.

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But what about hopes that he could be a breakout, late-blooming player like Steve Pearce? Well, honestly, when Pearce turned age 30 in April of 2013, he had already registered more than twice as many games and plate appearances as has Berry at this point. However, while Berry is a career .266 hitter, at age 30 Pearce was only .234.

It would be great to see Quintin Berry become a high-level player, and even better yet if it could happen in Baltimore. The guy has to wonder what more he has to do to prove he can be a regular part of a MLB team.