Chicago Cubs: Expectations for Jose Quintana in 2018

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 03: Starting pitcher Jose Quintana
CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 03: Starting pitcher Jose Quintana /
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CHICAGO, IL – OCTOBER 19: Jose Quintana
CHICAGO, IL – OCTOBER 19: Jose Quintana /

Consistency is key

Quintana broke into the majors in 2012 at the age of 23. In 25 appearances (22 starts), Quintana logged a 3.76 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 136 1/3 innings pitched. Over the next four seasons (2013-2016), Quintana started 129 games for the White Sox. In those starts, the lefty went 40-40 with a 3.35 ERA. Along with that, Quintana averaged 7.7 strikeouts per game during that same span and logged an ERA+ of 119.

While an ERA in the low three’s over a stretch of 814 2/3 innings is impressive, so is Quintana’s durability. In four of the six seasons Quintana has been in the majors, he has recorded at least 200 innings pitched, reaching a career-high with 208 innings in 2016. Quintana just missed the 200 inning threshold in 2017, logging 188 2/3 between cross-town rivals. While he failed to reach that lofty plateau, Quintana extended his streak of 30-plus starts in a season with 32 in 2017.

2017 was promising for Quintana

Even though Quintana set a career-high with a 4.15 ERA in 2017, there were some positive signs for the 28-year-old. With a strikeout-per-nine-innings rate of 9.87 and a strikeout percentage of 26.2% last season, Quintana set career bests. However, Quintana had the highest walk rate of his career at 7.7%.

Despite an increased amount of walks, Quintana was able to increase ground-ball percentage from 40.4% in 2016 to 44.8% in 2017. In addition to that, Quintana dropped his fly-ball rate more than four percentage points during the 2017 campaign. What that means is that Quintana found a way to keep the ball on the ground rather than allowing fly-balls that could result in home runs.