Chicago Cubs: Ranking this year’s most valuable pitchers

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Chicago Cubs
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Chicago Cubs: A late-season collapse blurs the numbers for Quintana

If you’re going off Fangraphs WAR, Jose Quintana ranked as the second-most valuable Chicago Cubs starting pitcher this season. That’s pretty hard to believe when you take a look at his high-level numbers.

The southpaw finished with the second-highest ERA among qualified National League starters (4.68) trailing only German Marquez of the Colorado Rockies (4.76) who calls hitter-friendly Coors Field home.

The 30-year-old made 31 starts – marking the seventh consecutive year in which he eclipsed the 30-start mark. But a horrendous run of starts in September erased all hopes of finishing the year with even remotely respectable numbers. Sure, he took the ball every five days, but he was pretty prone to clunkers that make it hard to evaluate his overall body of work.

In the season’s final month, Quintana pitched to an 11.09 ERA. Across those five starts, he failed to pitch into the sixth inning even once, with the Cubs losing three of those five games. He allowed at least four earned runs in each of his September outings.

Still, when you factor in the significant time Hamels missed, the down year from Lester and the dramatic first-to-second half splits from Darvish, Quintana was, arguably, one of the team’s most consistent arms. It’s just that everything went wrong when it mattered most – and that’s what we all remember.