We are just two weeks away from September 1st, which means we are only two weeks from roster expansion in Major League Baseball. Once the calendar turns to September, the 25 man roster limit is lifted and teams are allowed to call up additional players that are on the 40 man roster. Often times we’ll see prospects get their first taste of major league action during the final month of the season. Just as prevalent, however, are role players getting called up to the major leagues to fill a specific job off the bench for contending clubs that are looking for whatever extra boost they can get.
Quintin Berry, who has reportedly signed with the Milwaukee Brewers, has carved out a career as one of those types of players.
Berry, now 32 years old, began his career back in 2006 when the Philles drafted him in the 5th round. He would advance as high as AA with Philadelphia and even earn a spot on the 40 man roster before getting placed on waivers and claimed by the Padres in the summer of 2010. The Padres would later remove him from their 40 man roster, which allowed him to get selected by the Mets in that winter’s Rule 5 Draft. New York released him the following spring, however, and he signed with Cincinnati a few weeks later. He got his first brief taste of AAA ball in 2011 with the Reds, but was granted free agency at the end of that year. He signed a deal with Detroit in November of 2011, and the next season finally broke through to the major leagues.
Berry made his major league debut as a 27 year old on May 23rd, 2012, and went on to appear in 94 games that season. Never much of a power threat, Berry slashed a respectable .258/.330/.354 with 2 home runs in 330 plate appearances, good for an 89 wRC+. He isn’t considered to be much more than an average defender in left field, but where Berry makes his bones is on the base paths. He stole 21 bases without getting caught during his rookie year and accrued 6.8 base running runs, per Fangraphs.
That season would be Berry’s most extensive big league action to date. He’s bounced around plenty in the last few seasons, including big league stops with Boston during their 2013 World Series run, 2014 with Baltimore, and 2015 with the Cubs. In those 3 seasons Berry appeared in 31 games, went to the plate 12 times, entered 23 games as a pinch runner, and played 39.2 innings on defense. He stole 6 bases while being caught once and accrued 1.4 base running runs. Talk about a specialist.
Berry’s run of transactions since debuting with Detroit:
Berry had been playing with the independent Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League since being released by the Twins. In 115 plate appearances over 27 games, he batted .228/.316/.307 with no homers, but 15 stolen bases in 18 attempts. For his 12 year minor league career, he’s a .258/.351/.326 hitter with 31 homers and 387 stolen bases in 4723 plate appearances.
If the Milwaukee Nine continue to remain in contention as we get into September, it is very possible that we could see Quintin Berry wreaking havoc on the bases wearing while a Brewers’ uniform.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs