White Sox lack of pitching depth preventing many quality starts. South Siders near bottom of MLB in quality starts this season.
The Chicago White Sox have a problem that hasn’t plagued the team in quite some time which is a lack of quality starts from their starting rotation. Throughout this decade, the Sox have finished in the top 15 of MLB teams in quality starts.
However, the exception is this season as the South Siders haven’t had many quality starts from their starting pitchers. This isn’t something most Sox fans are used to seeing, no matter what the record is. Although this is considered a rebuilding season, the Sox haven’t been able to enjoy many quality starts in 2017.
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The Sox rank 28th in MLB this season in quality starts going into Wednesday at 27. Cincinatti (26) and Miami (24) are behind the Sox. With a lack of depth in the starting rotation, a decrease in quality starts should have been expected for the Sox. The Sox began the season without its workhorse in Chris Sale as he was traded in the offseason. Carlos Rodon started the season on the disabled list and James Shields missed over two months with a lat strain injury.
With the Sox dealing with a bevy of injuries to its starting pitchers, the team had to rely on giving starts to mostly unproven pitchers. Dylan Covey and David Holmberg started despite Covey being a Rule 5 draft pick and Holmberg only starting 11 career games before this season. Mike Pelfrey was signed to a minor league contract and has made 12 starts thus far for the Sox.
Although the Sox dealt with injuries to start this season, Shields has returned to the rotation and Rodon will be making his season debut on Wednesday. The fact still remains that the Sox haven’t been able to have many quality starts in 2017, and it has put more work on the bullpen. With just 27 quality starts, the Sox could very well finish this season with less than 90 quality starts.
Another factor in the Sox lack of quality starts has been Quintana’s slow start to this season. After starting this season with a 2-7 record and 5.60 ERA, Quintana has rebounded nicely this month. He’s pitched three consecutive quality starts and has lowered his ERA to 4.37. Quintana was expected to be the ace of the Sox pitching staff after the trade of Sale, but he wasn’t able to begin the season pitching like a number one pitcher.
Quintana has had an impressive June and continued his strong pitching Tuesday night against the New York Yankees. Pitching against New York, Quintana lasted 6.1 innings while allowing no earned runs and recording six strikeouts.
The Sox hope Quintana can not only turn his season around, but is able to pitch longer outings to give the team’s bullpen more rest. Quintana has pitched 200 or more innings in every season in his career, but that could be in jeopardy in 2017 if he’s unable to go deeper into games consistently. Quintana could very well be traded by July 31 as there were scouts from 10 teams for his start against the Yankees on Tuesday according to Bruce Levine.
If Quintana is traded, the Sox could be without one of its more reliable pitchers to end this season. If the Sox begin to promote some of their pitching prospects from Triple-A Charlotte, the bullpen could be worked much harder due to a younger starting rotation. The Sox don’t have many pitchers in the minors that have pitched deep into games consistently yet, but they could certainly develop into inning eaters eventually.
Rebuilding isn’t easy, and that’s been shown quite frequently this season by the Sox. While most fans aren’t happy with the losses piling up, the Sox are doing the right thing in allowing their top pitching prospects to develop in the minors. The Sox starting rotation was mainly a strength of the team in the past, but it needs more work for the future.