Aug 31, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcherJose Quintana
throws a pitch against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
If there was one hard luck pitcher on the Chicago White Sox last season, my vote would be for Jose Quintana, as he should have had a better record than what he finished with last season.
Quintana had a losing record at 9-11, but that didn’t reflect just how productive he was as a starting pitcher last season for the White Sox.
As for his stats last season, Quintana pitched 200 innings for the second time in his three seasons in the majors, where he built a 3.32 ERA and struck out a career-high 178 batters at the age of 25 years old.
His WHIP was 1.243 this past season (1.220 in ’13), and his K/9 was 8.0. Another plus for Quintana was his K/BB ratio at 3.42, and by just looking at his numbers, there is no reason why he can’t keep them or even improve on them in ’15.
Not to mention the White Sox added a new closer in David Robertson to help keep the lead in the ninth that Quintana will mostly likely build this season.
Remember, last season the White Sox bullpen lost 21 save opportunities. Think back to last year, with the help of White Sox fan @LarryVonKurtze, who provided the following stats on Quintana when leaving the game with a lead or tie.
Quintana had two no decisions in that situations when leaving with the lead. With the score tied, once Quintana left the mound his record was 1-3-6.
Now for the favorite part of this … Quintana’s 2015 projections by Steamer (presented on FanGraphs). The Steamer projections have Quintana finishing 11-10 overall in 31 starts next season. His projections are also reading he’ll pitch 182 innings and have a K/9 of 7.67 to eventually finish with an ERA of 3.95 next year.
Also with Quintana, his K/BB is projected to be lower at 2.62 in ’15, along with a WAR of 2.4, a drop from his actual ’14 WAR of 5.3.
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I like that fact the projections are having him produce a better ERA, and his innings pitched could be slightly less like the projections say since maybe he won’t have to be looked upon to pitch the extra inning here and there because the bullpen should be better than last year.
But it all isn’t just on the bullpen when it comes to providing support for Quintana. The defense of the White Sox must improve as well, and besides Alexei Ramirez at shortstop, the rest of the infield is a little shaky at times. The addition of Melky Cabrera in left field will help on defense compared to Dayan Viciedo last year.
Brad Johnson on FanGraphs.com wrote the following on Quintana:
"“If he reaches 200 innings for a third straight campaign, I think a 15-win season is within reach. It’s certainly not likely, but it’s not outlandish. He’s consistently solid, which should give the ChiSox a chance to win each and every outing.”"
Glancing at these numbers, with Quintana likely being the No. 3 pitcher in the rotation, I just don’t see the left-hander losing 10 games in ’15. Eight or nine, maybe, but the optimist in me is hoping he keeps his losses under 10 this season.
It is also no secret Quintana is an underrated pitcher in the AL Central, but this season could be his breakout season if he gets the help he needs from his teammates.