White Sox: Jose Quintana to start against Team U.S.A. in World Baseball Classic

Aug 4, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Jose Quintana (62) pitches in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 4, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Jose Quintana (62) pitches in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

White Sox All-Star will start for native Colombia against US team in World Baseball Classic. This will be his first start in WBC for home country.

For the first time in his career, Chicago White Sox starter Jose Quintana will pitch for his home country Colombia in the World Baseball Classic. Quintana, 28, will be able to take his mind off the constant trade rumors he’s had to deal with all offseason long and focus on beating team U.S.A. in the first round of the WBC.

Quintana left White Sox spring training camp on Sunday to gather with his former countrymen to get ready for Colombia’s WBC debut on Friday. The task will not be an easy one for Quintana; let alone team Colombia. Team U.S.A. is looking for its first ever WBC title and they certainly have the talent to accomplish that.

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Led by superstars Nolan Arenado, Andrew McCutchen, Buster Posey, and Giancarlo Stanton, team U.S.A. is poised for a big run. Tampa Bay Rayas starter Chris Archer will oppose Quintana. According to MLB.com’s Phil Rogers, Quintana feels confident about what team Colombia has to offer against team U.S.A:

"“I believe in this team.” “I can talk about this team. We have a lot of talent here, younger guys with experience in the big leagues, good stuff. We have a lot of good energy here. I think we have a good chance to make it to the second round.”"

Former Detroit Tigers manager and current team U.S.A. manager Jim Leyland spoke highly of Quintana and his abilities during a press conference Tuesday afternoon. Leyland retired after the 2013 season but was still able to see Quintana pitch his first full year in the league. Here is what the 3 time manager of the year said about the dependable left hander Tuesday afternoon:

"” It’s a big challenge. He’s really good. I’ve seen him firsthand, managed against him, he’s a really good pitcher. There’s no question about that. Some of our guys faced him all the way. He’s a very talented guy. It’ll be a big challenge to face him, no doubt about that, but when you’re in this you’re going to see good players, good pitchers. This is the big leagues, sort of speak.”"

Last season, Quintana eclipsed the double digit win mark for the first time in his career. He also provided another durable 200 inning season, (his 4th straight season doing so) and made his first all star appearance. In years prior Quintana had flown under the radar as one of the most underrated pitchers in the game.

Now, he has a chance to show fans of baseball on an international scale how good he really is. Quintana is signed through 2018 with team options for 2019 & 2020. “Q” is without a doubt the most talented pitcher in a now lackluster White Sox rotation. All Colombian and MLB scouts alike will have their eyes glued to see if Quintana is as good as his hype proceeds him.

Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves ace, will team up alongside his longtime friend as they hope to advance to the second round of the WBC to play an underrated Israel team. Other MLB players to be apart of Colombia’s roster is: Jorge Alfaro, brothers Jhonatan Solano and Donovan Solano, Giovanny Urshela, and Ernesto Frieri. Led by manager Luis Urueta, former World Series MVP Edgar Renteria, and White Sox coach Luis Sierra, a young and inexperienced Colombian team will have their work cut out for them.

Having Quintana pitch in the WBC can benefit the White Sox immensely. To have their star pitcher throw in front of an international crowd, along with an international audience watching, can increase the popularity or buzz of the team. Also known as “the second team in the second city”, White Sox fans have embraced that slogan and wear it as a badge of honor. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to create a bigger nationwide fan base.

Another obvious opportunity this creates is Quintana’s trade value. Already valued at a top of the line price, a solid performance in the WBC from Quintana could open the eyes of GM’s that were hestitant to trade for Quintana earlier this offseason. Clearly, the one potential drawback from Quintana participating in the WBC is injury. With no DL stints since he made his debut back in 2012, White Sox front office personnel is content enough to let their ace participate.

Quintana’s family and friends will be there to support him pitch in Miami Friday night. Jose will be on the standard 65 pitch limit for WBC starts to help prevent potential injury. Other White Sox WBC participants Alex Katz (Israel), Nate Jones (U.S.A.), and Miguel Gonzalez (Mexico) will work under the same restrictions.

The Colombia vs. U.S.A. game will take place this Friday at 6 PM CT on MLB Network. Extensive coverage of the World Baseball Classic can be seen/heard on television, internet, and radio. Up to date coverage and news of the WBC tournament can be found at WorldBaseballClassic.com.

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To add on too an already impressive resume, Quintana looks to establish Colombia as an international baseball threat; by giving them their first ever WBC victory.