Canaries sign slugger Gabriel Quintana

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A power bat with Triple-A experience is headed to Sioux Falls.

The Sioux Falls Canaries have signed infielder Gabriel Quintana for the 2020 season, the team announced Thursday.

“We’re excited to have Gabriel. He can hit the ball to all fields; he’s got crazy power,” Canaries manager Mike Meyer said. “He’s going to swing and miss, but we’re looking for him to have some big-time production.”

A native of the Dominican Republic, Quintana last played pro ball in the U.S. in 2018 with Triple-A Toledo in the Detroit Tigers’ system. He had a career year in 2017 with Double-A Erie, earning a .265/.299/.500 slash line for a career-high .799 OPS. Quintana hit 22 home runs and knocked 30 doubles over 118 games that season.

Quintana made headlines in May of 2017 when he hit three home runs in his first three at-bats in a game against Harrisburg.

Meyer said Quintana’s 2017 season was particularly impressive given the level of pitching he was up against.

“More times than not we’re going to have guys with High-A or Double-A experience pitching against us,” Meyer said. “And against that level of pitchers, he’s had a lot of success.”

Quintana, 27, holds a rare combination of youth and experience. First signed by the San Diego Padres at 17, he played nine years in the minor leagues.

The righty hitter made his debut in the United States in 2011, moving up the ladder in the Padres’ system over the next several years. He reached Double-A San Antonio for the first time in 2015, posting a .308/.325/.718 slash line to go with four homers over 10 games with the club.

Quintana’s strong 2015 earned him a promotion to the prestigious Arizona Fall League that season, suiting up on the same team as future big leaguers James Paxton, Dylan Bundy and Mike Yastrzemski.

He was granted free agency after the 2016 season, later signing with the Tigers.

Meyer said the infusion of power Quintana brings will mean big things for the Canaries’ lineup.

“We have a lot of high on-base-percentage guys, but there are still times when you need to hit the ball out of the ballpark,” the skipper said. “There are back-end bullpen guys in this league that are really tough, and sometimes you just need that one swing that produces for you.”

The Sioux Falls Canaries open their 2020 season at the Birdcage on Tuesday, May 19 at 7:05 p.m. Check out the Birds’ 2020 schedule here. For more information on season tickets, suites, group outings, and corporate opportunities, call the Canaries Front Office at (605) 336-6060, or visit www.sfcanaries.com.

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