High school hitters from cold weather states often are a slow burn from a developmental standpoint, and that’s exactly what Quentin Holmes has been. Selected with the 64th overall pick in 2017, he struggled through 41 games in the AZL after signing. He is repeating the league this summer, though a hamstring injury kept him out of action until late August.
Speed and defensive value are the calling cards, and they’re the parts of Holmes’ game that show up the most at the pro level right now. A wiry and athletic 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds, he has added noticeable strength since I last saw him and looks the part of a rangy big league outfielder. A double-plus runner, Holmes’ wheels show up in centerfield. He’s a potential impact defender with above-average range and arm-strength, and I was impressed with the way his defense was a factor in games despite continued struggles at the plate. Holmes is still a near bottom-scale hit tool guy, and while I wouldn’t fully close the book on the bat, he’s very raw at the plate and will take time to develop offensively. There isn’t much feel to hit and he really struggles against off-speed. Despite excellent athleticism, he’s off-balance after the swing and loses power by collapsing his back side. Holmes shows flashes of line drive pull power when he barrels it, but a long path that casts the bathead detracts from his ability to use the other field.
Holmes will take time, but if he can become even a passable hitter at the big league level, the defense and speed are good enough for a lesser everyday profile in center. He’s still just 19-years-old, and an argument can be made for projecting on the bat given his athleticism and lack of amateur reps as a high school hitter from New York. If he doesn’t turn a corner at the plate, the ceiling becomes more of a role player whose non-offensive tools fit a bench profile.