The underrated Jose Quintana is emerging as a second White Sox ace
The White Sox No. 2 man did it again on Wednesday night against the Blue Jays.
That's a nifty night's work, and those six shutout frames mean that Quintana has now thrown 16 straight scoreless innings. As you can also see, Quintana whiffed 10 on the night (while facing what profiles as one of the best offenses in the game in one of the AL's best hitter's parks) while lowering his ERA to 1.47.
Quintana has yet to allow a home run this season, and he entered Wednesday night backing up his impressive ERA with an AL-best FIP of 1.92. No, Quintana is not going to run a sub-1.50 ERA all season, but right now he's backing up that excellent run prevention with some uncommonly strong peripherals.
He's an underrated one, you know? Yes, that's a highly subjective designation, but Quintana has suffered by comparison to rotation label-mate and fellow lefty Chris Sale, who is of course on the short-short-list of best pitchers in all of baseball. Maybe it's also that he's a four-pitch guy (sometimes five) who doesn't hit 95 or higher with his fastball. Or maybe it's that the terrible run support he's received over the years has depressed his win-loss record (and that there are people who still pay heed to pitcher win-loss records). Whatever the reasons, Quintana doesn't seem to get his due as a reliably good No. 2 man.
Across parts of five big-league seasons, his ERAs have ranged from 3.76 as a rookie to this year's 1.47. His ERA+ figures have spanned from 113 to this year's mark of more than 200. In each of the last three full seasons, he's topped 200 innings and put up a K/BB ratio of 3.41. He's done that despite over his career pitching almost half his innings in homer-friendly U.S. Cellular Field and ceding the platoon advantage to 73.7 percent of the batters he's faced.
As well, Quintana is in his age-27 season at present, so it's possible his peak has not yet been realized. (His slight bump in fastball and sinker velocity this season, during a month when gun readings tend to be down, is something to watch on this front.) If that's the case, then the White Sox may well have a pair of aces under contract through 2019. As for Quintana, proper credit may continue to elude him, but there's every reason to think he'll go on being a top-tier starting pitcher for years to come.