The Chicago White Sox currently possess a starting pitcher that is sure to warrant plenty of interest as we approach the non-waiver trade deadline at the end of this month, a pitcher that they’re hoping will bring back a return that will help solidify their budding farm system.
That pitcher is of course Jose Quintana, the current staff ace, and a pitcher that prior to the 2017 season was considered one of the more consistent starting pitchers in all of baseball. That was until the 28-year old southpaw opened the season with a dismal month of April in which he posted a 1-4 record coupled with a 5.22 ERA over the course of his first five starts.
The month of May wasn’t much better for Quintana who posted a 1-3 record with a 5.91 ERA over his next six starts, entering the month of June with a dismal 2-7 record and an equally unattractive 5.60 ERA through his first 11 starts of the 2017 season. Fans were ready to hit that panic button, assuming that White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn had overplayed Quintana’s value during the winter and held onto the former All-Star too long.
Quintana, and the impending trade return that Quintana will bring back to the South Side is imperative to the progress of their rebuild, as the club needs to add top tier hitting prospects to their farm system to compliment the arsenal of pitching that they have acquired. That was the plan entering the season, evident by the White Sox’ most recent draft in which they locked onto collegiate level hitters including third-baseman Jake Burger and second round selection Gavin Sheets, both of whom have already garnered promotions to Low-A Kannapolis after a short stint with the Great Falls Voyagers.
With Quintana stumbling into the third month of the season there was a high level of uneasiness among the fanbase, and the front-office as well I’m sure, and rightfully so.
Now on the morning of the 2017 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, and exactly 20 days away from the non-waiver trade deadline, Jose Quintana is being tossed around in trade scenarios that include a multitude of teams, most prominently the New York Yankees and the Milwaukee Brewers as of late.
The Loop Sports’ Owen Schoenfeld did a great job of unpacking all of the potential returns in any Quintana trade scenario, so if you’re interested in that you can find that here. In an article that made it very clear that the White Sox should not sell themselves short on a Quintana deal, the message was one that echos the front-office’s outlook – there is a clear line in the sand in what the value of Jose Quintana is.
Call it luck, call it perfect timing, call it whatever you want, but be clear that Jose Quintana is finally turning the corner in his 2017 campaign and beginning to look like the front end starting pitcher that Rick Hahn has always perceived him as.
Overall on the season Quintana has a 4-8 record with a 4.49 ERA and 109 strikeouts over the course of 18 starts for the White Sox, but you have to dig into his splits to see that the tides have been turning for Quintana since as far back as June. During the months of April and May, Quintana allowed 41 runs on 10 home runs and 18 extra base hits, while striking out 64 and walking 24 hitters, leading to his 2-7 start.
Since June 1, Quintana has allowed only 14 runs, four home runs, and six extra base hits while striking out 45 and walking only 16 hitters over the course of his last seven starts.
During his last five starts, Quintana has a perfect 2-0 mark with three signature no-decisions to boast. Over 29.2 innings pitched in his last five starts, Quintana has a 2.43 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP to go along with a 35/10 K/BB ratio and a K/9 rate of 10.6. Over the course of his five starts in the month of June, opponents hit just .194 against Quintana, who posted nine more strikeouts than hits allowed during that same span.
While Quintana has been very clear with the media to this point as far as his desire to stay in Chicago is concerned, the White Sox would be wise to cash in on their lone remaining high-return player this summer to ensure that their farm system not only continues to flourish, but that the players acquired in return for Quintana are one the same general timeline as the existing talent.
If Quintana can continue to string together starts that match his numbers from the last six weeks, Rick Hahn will be in position to make a deal with a contender at the deadline that will once again make him look like a genius for holding out this past winter.