Tag Archives: Ricky Renter

Q Rating

When you’re Jose Quintana, a leading trade candidate on a rebuilding team who has branded himself as one of the premier number two starters in the league, there are naturally going to be a lot of eyes on you. And when you start the first six weeks of the season with a 4.46 ERA, suspicions will arise.

But if you’ve watched Quintana at all, you’ll see that his best months are not usually in April. Perhaps it’s the cold weather, perhaps it’s getting back into the grind. Take a look at Quintana’s April numbers:
















The outlier of course remains fresh in baseball folks’ memory. Seeing as it was just last year, a time in which Quintana gained quite of bit of overdue recognition, followed by a total White Sox tear down that put him on the trading block.

The White Sox organization doesn’t seem concerned with Quintana’s start to the season.

“Actually, Jose hasn’t been throwing that badly,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said Tuesday. “Again, I think this last weekend he made some pitches, he got a little dunker here, a little dunker there. I really don’t think we played our best baseball.”

Renteria seemed to be chalking up most of the struggles Quintana has shown to poor defense. “We have a pretty good defense and I think we weren’t as good as we wanted to be this last series,” Renteria said. “So, hopefully that comes back this series to what we’re accustomed to seeing but, again, there are ups and downs in the season. I’m not worried about [Quintana]. [He] is an excellent pitcher.”

Defense obviously plays a large role in a pitcher’s success and it’s the reason there are statistics that give more context to ERA. Taking a look at those though, it seems that defense isn’t the only thing to blame for Quintana’s struggles. Quintana is currently pitching to a 4.01 FIP, a tad lower than his ERA, but is also posting a 5.16 DRA (a peripheral metric by Baseball Prospectus that takes a more in depth look at how a pitcher is performing in isolation than FIP).

FIP indicates that the defense behind Quintana may be a bit better this season than his ERA is leading us to believe, but DRA is painting the opposite picture.

So far, Quintana’s command has been the largest question mark in his stat line. He walked 10.9 percent of batters faced in April, the highest percentage of batters he’s walked in an April over his last three seasons on the Southside.

Quintana isn’t throwing his changeup as much as he has in the past (just five percent in April) and has been compensating for it with his curveball, throwing it 32 percent of the time. Quintana threw his fastball just 36 percent of the time in April, the lowest fastball percentage he has had dating back to August of 2015. According to Brooks Baseball data, Quintana has been generating fewer swings on his high fastball than he did last season—an area of the plate that Quintana tends to dominate in order to work so well with changing speeds and eye levels on hitters.

Quintana is mixing things up right now, and what baseball folks need to remember is that though we are five weeks into the season, it’s still early and players are still settling in. There doesn’t seem to be any real concern with Quintana at the moment, as long as he can continue to generate the swings and misses on the high fastball as we’ve seen from him in the past, he will begin to be able to play up all his pitches across the board and create that strong repertoire that have made him the hot topic he’s become among baseball. Quintana is still a top trade candidate, no doubt, and a small scuffle in April surely won’t change that.