Jose Quintana isn’t quite under the radar but either way he is a guy I find interesting. He’s on a mediocre team but year after year he puts up numbers and 2016 shouldn’t be any different. Over his four year career, Quintana has a 3.46 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. In 2015 he had a 3.36 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. What I’m pointing out is that he is very consistent and a virtual lock to throw 190 IPs after logging at least 200 the last three years. Throw in that Quintana will be 27 next season and you can see why Quintana is a guy to own.
Quintana has never been a great strikeout guy with a career K% of 19.4 but he gets enough to be valuable because he throws so many innings. However last year, he actually saw an increase in whiffs per swing from 2015, a year in which his K% was 1% higher.
(stats from BrooksBaseball)
His plate discipline numbers were virtually identical to 2014 and he even threw first pitch strikes on almost 3% more batters and yet saw his K% decrease. I don’t have a great explanation, only the takeaway that there might be a bit of upside in the K rate.
Quintana has always been good at limiting walks and posted his best rate ever last year at 5.1%, tied for 12th among all qualified SPs in 2015. This was much lower than his typical BB% but might be a legitimate number. He generated more swings outside the zone than ever before (30.8% compared to 28.1% for career) and as I stated before, he threw more first pitch strikes. If Quintana can keep both of those up, there is no reason why he can’t post an excellent BB% again in 2016.
Last year the only mediocre part of Quintana’s fantasy game was WHIP (rating a 0.24 on the ESPN player rater in this category). He posted the second worst WHIP of his career at 1.27 after a 1.24 in 2014. Why did his WHIP increase with his solid K% and excellent BB? A spike in BABIP is the likely cause rising from .318 to .327. This spike in BABIP can be contributed to a pretty horrible defense. The White Sox as a team ranked 28th last year in DRS with a terrible -39 number. They were particularly bad in the OF with both Adam Eaton and Avisail Garcia posting negative double digit numbers. In 2014 Eaton was worth 12 DRS and we do know that defensive metrics can be a bit fickle year to year. Avisail Garcia on the other hand is a bad OF so we won’t expand on him. The big upgrades come on the IF with Todd Frazier taking over 3B. This allows Tyler Saladino (considered an above average fielder) to slide into SS which should be an upgrade over the aging Alexei Ramirez. Frazier himself is no slouch in the field either and having him man 3B over a guy like Conor Gillaspie is a big defensive upgrade. If Eaton can return to form and Saladino can hit enough to stay in the lineup, this defense should be improved quite a bit.
Quintana was the 42nd ranked SP according to ESPN last year and has generally been ranked in the 30s and 40s so far. I don’t think Quintana will ever be a top 20 SP unless he can win 18 games, but I think he can improve his WHIP enough to get into the low 30s. Steamer is projecting Quintana for 3.72 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, a 20.5 K% and a 6 BB%. I’m a bit higher and will give Quintana 3.35 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 21.1 K% and a 5.6 BB%.