“Strengthening Between the Ears,” Quinn Priester Preparing For 2022

Quinn Priester has seen his stock drop in a lot of recent top 100 lists, but he probably doesn’t care about the rankings or opinions. Priester has been working with Scott Swanson and the team at FullReps Baseball this offseason.

I spoke with Mike Phelps of FullReps, who has a long history with Priester. Phelps talked about how Priester is focused on getting better at his craft, with thoughts on the mentality and the drive Priester has.

“I’ve coached Quinn since about sophomore year in high school, and I must say [Priester] was actually bigger last year,” said Phelps on Priester’s physique. “Last year he was built like a linebacker, now he looks like a pitcher that can pitch in the big leagues.”

Now that Priester has his feet wet in pro ball, he can now start to develop regimens and routines to keep his body and his mind sharp. As Anthony mentioned in last week’s piece, Priester didn’t have eye-popping numbers at first glance in Greensboro, so one might think maybe some routines were changed.

“When you get to the kind of level [Priester} is at, the daily routines don’t change a whole lot,” said Phelps. “The big things now are more fine-tuning and strengthening between the ears. It’s very easy for top-level prospects to want to be perfect, and we’re playing an imperfect game. The two biggest things with his off-season routine, to put it simply, is getting his body right and strengthening between the ears to take that next step.”

Phelps continued to mention the mental aspect of Priester and harping on that was a big thing he has been working on to get even better than he is right now. So what can one do to strengthen between the ears? Well, we have meditation, yoga, and several other things, but Mr. Phelps said something that stuck out.

“[To strengthen his mentals] it’s putting him in situations to fail. You want to put him in situations to overcome, and that’s what the winter and off-season is for, and to go those distances. A lot of young pitchers will throw the best pitch, and then the next pitch, they want to make it even better. It’s about saying be who you are and perfect that aspect.”

In last week’s Priester update on Pirates Prospects, Anthony Murphy showed how advanced Priester’s curveball is, and how fastball command is the key.

“It’s still very early, and if your breaking stuff is at 100% in January and you’re able to spot it, then you’re way ahead of the curve,” Phelps said. “[Priester’s] curveball has always been a special pitch, and I’ve known [Priester] since the kid was 16. The main thing with the curveball is tunneling it better off the fastball.”

Phelps also stressed that Priester isn’t just working on being able to get hitters out now, but for the future as well. It’s not just about having a great pitch; it’s being able to pitch with it effectively and get guys out. A pitch that has potential to get said guys out is a slider Priester has introduced to his repertoire.

“Anytime you can throw a pitch that moves like that in the upper 80s’ low 90s’, it’s going to do nothing but benefit him,” Phelps said of the slider. “To learn a pitch and for it to look good and do what it has been doing that’s great! It hasn’t reached its full capacity, obviously; it’s the middle of January, so if it were at 100% now, we’d be doing him a disservice come August, September.”

Phelps continued to hammer home about the quality of people surrounding Priester at the facility and back home in Chicago and gave a ton of credit to the guys who work with him. To go along with the quality of people, Phelps also wanted to mention Priester’s top-notch work ethic and his drive to be even better.

With a better body, mind, and self-awareness, we may see Priester shoot back up a ton of prospect boards. If he starts in Altoona in 2022, which is a pitcher-friendly park, 2022 may be the year Priester shows why he is highly touted.

THIS WEEK ON PIRATES PROSPECTS

Top 100 Prospects: The Pirates Have a Strong Showing Heading Into 2022

“Strengthening Between the Ears,” Quinn Priester Preparing For 2022

A Clear Mindset Drives Roansy Contreras to the Top 100 and the Majors

Williams: The Capacity For Change

Tsung-Che Cheng Gains Valuable Experience in Winter Ball

Logan Hofmann: Spin Rate Makes Righty Interesting Prospect to Watch

Prospect Notes: Logan Hofmann, Brad Case, Nick Dombkowski, Tsung-Che Cheng

PROSPECT WATCH

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