INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Many people reminisce about their high school football glory days, but far fewer apply those lessons to their current profession.
One fact is evident about Quinn Priester: he takes great pride in his diverse athletic background, having been a high school football state champion in Illinois.
Over the years, through other sports, Priester has gleaned tips that continue to benefit him on the pitcher’s mound today.
“I put a lot of credit toward football and playing basketball, just being an athletic kid growing up,“ Priester said. “It is helped me pick things up and make adjustments quickly in the games. That’s what I see the most, not necessarily fielding. It’s fun to field a bunt, and look cool doing it, but it’s more about being able to make the pitch-to-pitch adjustments and feeling the body.”
Priester’s smooth delivery is apparent on the mound, and he has made some key adjustments that have brought him to the cusp of the majors, with a debut in Pittsburgh likely later this summer. He has significantly improved his slider, an essential part of his repertoire, and further refined his delivery to make it more consistent.
He has also demonstrated the ability to adapt quickly at the highest level. Last week, in his season debut on April 4 against the Louisville Bats, Priester was strong through the first two innings. However, the third inning proved challenging as he allowed five hits and four runs, including two doubles and a home run. The fourth inning was not much better, with two more doubles and two more runs scored before he was pulled from the game. Overall, Priester allowed nine hits, six earned runs, and walked two in 3.2 innings.
Facing the same Louisville team in his next start on April 9, he permitted just two hits and one run in five solid innings. The only drawback was three walks. Seven of the nine batters in the game were the same, but Priester adapted and learned.
It is adjustments like these and his innate athleticism that make Priester stand out to his pitching coach in Indianapolis, Dan Meyer.
“How he moves — efficiently with the body — his stuff and the way he’s able to make his body move down athletically, I think is what separates him from a lot of guys his age and what makes him so good,” Meyer said. “He is a heck of an athlete, and that works out well for a pitcher.“
Echoing Meyer’s sentiment, Priester also acknowledges his athletic prowess as a primary factor to his game.
“It’s a big part of my identity,“ Priester said. “It’s part of who I am, and I think it’s a separator for me on the mound. A lot of guys can throw the ball well, but I think I’m able to make adjustments and learn quicker, based on experience I’ve had playing multiple sports. I’ve learned my body in different ways, maybe more than other guys have.”
Ryan has been following Indianapolis baseball for most of his life, and the Pirates since they became the affiliate in 2005. He began writing for Pirates Prospects in 2013, in a stint that ran through 2016 (with no service time manipulation played in). Ryan rejoined the team in 2022, covering Indianapolis once again. He has covered the Pirates in four different big league stadiums. Ryan was also fortunate enough to cover the 2015 Futures Game in Cincinnati.
Here’s a real question I have…
Do we have any starting pitchers with a good fastball? What I mean is, does the pitch have movement, velocity, and the ability to miss bats?
It seems like every starting pitcher we have (minors and MLB) has a problem with a too hittable fastball? Idk if I’m cherry picking a few guys or this is just the normal in MLB.
Didn’t see him enough to get a lot of actual data but Mike Burrows I felt always did a great job of missing bats with the fastball. Even if it didn’t have the upper 90s velocity. His command was excellent with the pitch which helped with the swing and miss.
Thanks for the reply!
I’ll take a FB that misses bats over velocity ANY day.
Cautiously optimistic QP will be a similar SP as Keller in the future. He needs to take the qualities he refers to in this article and apply them by adding different pitches to his repertoire as Keller has done. If he does this, he will be a productive SP in the Pirates rotation in the near future.
He doesn’t have the same juice on his pitches as Keller. Watching both Keller and Quinn at Altoona…Keller was miles ahead of Quinn at that stage of development.
And Quinn may come up and be solid from day 1 because…baseball. One can hope. I never saw either at the ‘Toona, but everything I’ve read about both pitchers supports what you said. Quinn may look like SP-1 from a physical build standpoint, but we ain’t really seeing that with the results or his stuff.
Exactly. Fastball at 88mph from an “athletic “ pitcher?
Sorry count me as someone who is rooting for Quinn but I don’t see mlb quality stuff.
Now is he the VERY rare type of pitcher who gets away with that ala Maddox? No. His control is not elite either though that can improve with experience which is why he needs to stay at aaa until control comes or stuff advances.