Always A Step Ahead
March 23, 2001
Hometown: Chula Vista, CA
High School: USDHS
Stanford Highlights: Has moved into a role as the team's starter in right field and has hit in the cleanup spot for the last four games...Currently hitting .328 with a homer and 12 RBI...Arguably the team's hottest hitter over his last eight games, hitting .520 (13-25) with a homer and seven RBI while posting five multiple-hit games...Began his collegiate career with a homer in his first at bat at Fresno State (1/26/01)...Posted his first three-hit game versus USC (3/11/01).
Carlos Quentin has made a habit of always seeming to be one step ahead of the game. Quentin began playing baseball at the young age of five. By the time he was 11, he was playing with the San Diego Stars, a youth All-Star team chalk full of 12-year-olds. Soon, he was traveling around the country with the Stars. The USA Junior National Team came knocking when he was just 16 and he played baseball in places as far away as Taiwan. Now, in his freshman season at Stanford, Quentin has already moved into the club's cleanup spot and is third on the team with a .328 batting average.
Perhaps even more remarkable has been the way in which Quentin has repeatedly announced his presence 'with authority' as former ESPN anchor Larry Beil made famous on SportsCenter.
As an 11-year-old, he was put into the cleanup spot for his first game with the Stars and promptly homered in his first at bat. With the USA Junior National Team, he homered in his first at bat during tryouts. In his first game, he was 5-for-6.
Then came his memorable first at bat as a Cardinal. After not batting in Stanford's season-opening loss at Cal Poly, Quentin found himself in the lineup as the team's starting right fielder and hitting ninth for the team's second game of the season at Fresno State. Stanford was already leading 4-0 by the time Quentin stepped to the plate for the first time as a collegian and blasted a three-run homer off the top of the scoreboard in left field.
'It was a great relief when I hit that home run,' said Quentin, who struggled to break into Stanford's starting lineup in the preseason. 'The fact that my first collegiate hit was a home run kind of put me in awe. It was a great way to start my collegiate career.'
Quentin is just 23 games into his freshman season but his collegiate career is well underway. A knee injury to Jason Cooper prompted Quentin's move all the way up into the team's cleanup spot.
'The first day I was in the cleanup spot was a surprise,' admitted Quentin. 'There were a lot more experienced players that were swinging the bat well. I never expected to be in this spot in my freshman year. I was hoping to move up in the order by my sophomore or junior year. I remember just looking at the board to see if I was playing that day. I saw my name, then I looked again and saw that I was batting fourth. It was pretty surprising, but I got over it pretty quick. I just told myself to stay with the same approach I've been using.'
Quentin's approach has been working extremely well of late. He is hitting .520 (13-25) with a homer and seven RBI in his last eight contests, posting five multiple-hit games during the stretch. Quentin had his first career three-hit game in his most recent performance versus USC on March 11 and is beginning to develop a knack for being one of the team's top clutch hitters with at least one RBI in six of his last eight contests. He has also been a model of consistently, hitting safely in 16 of his 21 games this year. Quentin's current average has climbed to .328.
More than just a talented player, Quentin seems to be the perfect fit for a Stanford Baseball program that promotes 'the basic philosophy of the Stanford Baseball program is to get talented players and make them play hard. We pride ourselves in the fact that no collegiate program works harder than we do. There is no shortcut to success.'
Quentin agrees and proves it with his love of hard work and the game of baseball.
'I have never been a laid-back player,' emphasized the native of a laid-back San Diego area. 'The style of baseball at Stanford fits me well. I've always worked hard on my own before but here I don't even have to do it on my own. They are going to make me do it, and it's good for me.'
'I'm out there to play hard,' continued Quentin. 'I'm not going to back away from an inside pitch, I'll turn into it. I'm a team player who will do anything I can to help the team. I'm diving for everything, I'm sprinting for everything, trying to catch every fly ball. I'm an intense player.'
Quentin is much more than an overachieving hard worker. One of the nation's top recruits -- largely because of his size, strength and experience as a youth player -- Quentin admits that his talents were a bit raw in high school.
'At the collegiate level, I do still need my natural abilities to take over,' said Quentin. 'But the practices and the amount time put into baseball helps me refine everything. I'm getting better in all areas of the game.'
Quentin is hoping to continue improving throughout his Stanford career and become one of Stanford's leaders.
'I need to mentally prepare myself for the next couple of seasons at Stanford,' said Quentin. 'I'm not going to be a freshman anymore. It's just that much more work that I will need to put into it. But, I'm ready for it.'
So is the Cardinal.
by Kyle McRae