Nick Quintana has always been ready for the big stage
Arizona infielder Nick Quintana (13) at the plate during the game against Hartford on March 11 at Hi Corbett field. The Wildcats won 25-3.
Bringing his passion and motivation to Hi Corbett Field, freshman and third baseman Nicholas Quintana started his journey at the UA in hopes of maturing into a professional baseball player one day.
Starting baseball at the age of five, Quintana was always motivated and driven to succeed as a player along side his older brother Zach. Quintana’s father, Martin, helped guide Quintana in the right direction when he was younger as he coached him and his brother in little league. At the age of nine Quintana found himself excelling more quickly than the other kids.
“I could feel that there was a difference and that was because I played it every single day,” Quintana said. “My dad was a little league majors coach and when I was nine, he put me in the majors which is against 12 and 13-year-old kids just to experience some better competition.”
Quintana’s parents, Susie and Martin Quintana, both saw how driven he was when playing baseball and the passion he had for the game.
“When he was younger, I think Nick was more passionate because he wanted to impress his older brother,” said Susie Quintana, his mother. “He would literally sleep with his cleats and his glove at age five.”
Growing up, baseball was always something for Quintana and his older brother Zach to do in their spare time. As he started to progress and get older, Quintana’s father would help by giving him hitting and fielding tips.
“It’s funny because he would tell me to stay short in my swing and I would just be like ‘oh whatever’ and then my coaches would say the same thing and then my dad would be like ‘look, I told you,’” Quintana said. “He has always been a huge factor in my development as a player, even to this day.”
Quintana tried other sports like basketball for fun during middle school, but knew he wanted to be fully committed to baseball. Being from Las Vegas, there was never a break for Quintana when it came to the sport he loved.
“Las Vegas is 100 percent year round because the weather is always perfect,” Quintana said. “I feel like that was a huge contribution to what I have been doing so far.”
High school was where his dream of going into professional baseball would start to develop, as he was starting shortstop his freshman year on the varsity squad at Arbor View High School.
“I think that helped me mature more because I was around the older guys,” Quintana said. “Being around them was great because they were older and better competition. My coaches would help me during practices, but when it was game time they kind of let me do my own thing because they knew I put in the hard work, I knew the signs, I knew that plays and as I kept going through high school I continued to get more exposure.”
Leading up into his final years of high school Quintana remained a dominant player, keeping future opportunities open for himself. Despite his personal athletic abilities, Quintana has always remained a team player and didn’t get into his own head.
“I was never cocky, I just realized what was in front of me, the draft and Division I scholarships, so I just did what I knew how to do and just worked at it,” Quintana said.
Scouts and recruits had their eyes on Quintana since his freshman year of high school, and Quintana knew exactly what they were looking for. Quintana’s brother Zach was a third-round pick of the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft and was able to give Quintana the tips and advice he needed in order to be looked at.
“When I was younger I always looked up to [Zach],” Quintana said. “He always gave me the best advise possible. When I would go to showcases, he would tell me that I didn’t need to impress anyone just do me and people would notice. He has always been my biggest supporter.”
Quintana’s future wasn’t always in the direction of Arizona. Quintana’s freshman year of high school he had colleges looking at him including UC Santa Barbara and UNLV, but going into Quintana’s sophomore and junior year of high school he became verbally committed to the University of Southern California.
“USC at the time was perfect,” Quintana said. “I thought USC was a big time school and the coaches are great there and I have friends that go there, but for me it wasn’t the best fit after that long period of time.”
In 2015, Quintana was able to experience something that most baseball players don’t get the privilege to be apart of. Quintana was a part of the 2015 18U National USA baseball team that won a gold medal in Japan. With the many opportunities given to Quintana, colleges weren’t the only ones interested in him.
The Boston Red Sox selected Quintana in the 11th round of the 2016 MLB Draft, leading Quintana to have to make the tough decision of whether to go to college or go into the minor leagues. Quintana went through the pros and the cons of both scenarios and finally made his decision.
“The experience for sure was the main reason I chose college,” Quintana said. “There were a lot of people that gave me the pros and cons of college and pro-ball. Yeah it’s more school and pro ball is no more school which is great, but for me personally I thought I needed to mature more as a player.”
Arizona head coach Jay Johnson gave Quintana the opportunity to come to the UA shortly after, leading to Quintana’s commitment to be a Wildcat during the fall of 2016. Quintana knew the history of Arizona baseball, and knew the talent of the players and incoming class would help further him as a player.
Alongside Quintana was his father to help him decide which path was the best for him to take.
“We had the privilege to have gone through the process of scouting and everything with Zach,” Martin said, “but with Nick it was always about staying humble and being a good teammate. There can be a lot of pressure. We wanted him to go to college especially with the experience with Zach. We are very happy that Nick made the choice to go to college and have the opportunity to play at Arizona.”
Quintana’s parents constantly remind him to stay focused, stay humble and continue to be a good player while at Arizona. Quintana takes his parents’ advice and he can even hear his father in the stands giving him tips and helping him focus on being consistent while at the plate.
“I needed to mature in my consistency from fielding, to at-bats and swings,” Quintana said. “I felt like I needed to come here [UA] personally to mature in those areas, and also I wanted to experience college. Division I baseball and the Pac-12 are considered minor league competition.”
Quintana chose the UA because of what the coaching staff had to offer, and is looking forward to the upcoming years of playing under the coaching of Johnson. Quintana plans to one day go professional and never give up on baseball.
“The coaching staff here is amazing,” Quintana said. “Jay Johnson let me come here and that is a privilege for me. I am happy I am here and I don’t even think about the draft because that is a few years down the road and it’ll come when it gets here, but for now I am happy to be here and I am happy to work every day.”
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