Chicago Cubs: Who is the ace of this pitching staff?

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Jose Quintana – LHP

Last season, Jose Quintana appeared to be a good pitcher on a lousy team. So the Cubs traded notable prospects Dylan Cease and Eloy Jimenez to get him. Under contract for another three years at a team-friendly rate, the hope is that Quintana will break free and become that pitcher he wanted to become–but was held back by the team. That already seems to be the case in the small sample size for Quintana.

In 18 games started for the Chicago White Sox, he was an unimpressive 4-8 with a with a 4.49 ERA. Upon coming over to the other side of Chicago, it was if the weight of being on a losing team had been lifted off his shoulders. In his first start with the Cubs, Quintana went seven innings, striking out 12 Orioles on his way to an 8-0 win.

While there were a few hiccups along the way, he showed what he was capable of on the right side of Chicago. His K/9 went up from 9.4 to 10.5, while his BB/9 dropped from 3.5 to 2.2. This helped him to a 7-3 record for the Cubs with a 3.74 ERA. And it all culminated in a complete game shutout against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sept. 24. A game that helped the Cubs to close out the Central Division against the Brewers.

For Quintana, the upside is high. With three more years left on his contract, he could end up being the Cubs ace. But is this something we’re ready to anoint him with now? While it was an impressive beginning to his Cubs career, it was just 14 games. But his potential is there. It’s just a matter if the ability will come with it.