The surname Quintana is listed as having a Spanish origin and meaning “dweller on a piece of land whose rent is one-fifth its produce.” In the case of Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Jose Quintana, this definition seems to be fairly accurate. After all, he starts one-fifth of his team’s games and is compensated roughly one-fifth of what a pitcher his caliber would be on the free agent market. If my math is accurate, this would make him the equivalent of an indentured servant or a government mule in the MLB pecking order. There’s no need to start a fundraiser for this mule, however, as his listed salary of $5.4 million this season is hardly chump change, but the truth is that Quintana has been undervalued and underappreciated for quite some time now. Since the beginning of the 2013 season, Quintana has produced the 6th highest WAR (16.3) among all MLB pitchers, placing him directly above established aces Madison Bumgarner, Zack Greinke, and Jon Lester over that span. He’s also in the midst of arguably his best season to date, as his 3.13 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and 8.15 K/9 rates represent career best marks in those respective categories. With impressive numbers like these, Quintana is starting to gain more traction in fantasy circles, as his name has been popping up on a lot of top 20 starting pitcher lists around the web in recent weeks. Quintana just might be one of the top dozen or so MLB pitchers in real life, but has his fantasy value followed suit?

Let’s take a look at Quintana’s profile to see if his ascension into the fantasy elite is sustainable moving forward. Here are a few observations:

His strikeout rate is the highest of his career. As I mentioned earlier, Quintana’s 8.15 K/9 rate is well above his career 7.39 K/9 mark. While still not among the game’s elite strikeout artists, this uptick in strikeouts has certainly added to Quintana’s fantasy value. When paired with his reasonable 2.26 BB/9 rate, the resulting 3.61 K/BB ratio puts Quintana on the leaderboard in that category among some fine company. When assessing his strikeout rate, however, it was surprising to learn that…

His swinging strike percentage is the lowest of his career. Quintana’s current 8.1% SwStr% is the worst such rate of his five year career and represents a steep 1.1% drop from last season. That decline in swings and misses corresponds with his 82.0% Contact%, which would represent a new career high. These statistics indicate that Quintana’s spike in K-rate is a direct result of a higher percentage of called strikes rather than swinging strikes. The plate discipline numbers aren’t the only things that have changed in Quintana’s profile, as…

He’s morphed into a flyball pitcher. This one is a bit of a head scratcher since Quintana is throwing more sinkers than ever this season (23.36%, a 6.51% increase from last season). Despite the increased sinker usage, Quintana has induced groundballs at a career low rate (40.0% GB%) while his flyball percentage has spiked to 40.3%, which represents a 10.6% increase from last season. He’s one of only 17 qualified starting pitchers with a GB/FB ratio of less than one (0.99), meaning that he’s suddenly allowing more balls in the air than on the ground. That’s a stark contrast from his 2015 GB/FB (1.58) as well as his career GB/FB mark (1.31). When factoring in the increase in flyballs allowed, it should come as no surprise that…

He’s allowing more home runs this season. While Quintana’s 0.95 HR/9 is actually quite reasonable considering his batted ball profile and home ballpark (U.S. Cellular Field has the 5th highest park factor in MLB for home runs), he’s been allowing home runs with increasing regularity in recent weeks. In eight starts since the beginning of June, Quintana has allowed 11 home runs in 51.2 innings (1.92 HR/9). In his three home starts over that span, he’s allowed 8 homers in 21 innings (3.43 HR/9).

Bottom line: There’s no question that Quintana is an extremely good real life pitcher who has become quite the fantasy asset this season. He has good control, goes deep into games, and can get both right and left handed hitters out with regularity. However, I don’t believe that a K/9 north of 8 is sustainable for him with his current swinging strike and contact rates, and his newfound flyball tendencies will most likely result in a few more home runs allowed going forward, especially in the bandbox of U.S. Cellular Field. Expect SP3 production in the John Lackey mold rather than fantasy ace numbers over the next couple of months.

Final Verdict:

Brown Bear Walking in Snow

 
  1. Gregarious says:
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    Apologies in advance, this question has nothing to do with Quintana…but would you guys trade Yelich for Villar and JUpton in a re-draft? Thanks much

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Gregarious: No need to apologize. It’s not like you’re hijacking a thread here, haha. I’d take the Villar side, especially if you need steals.

  2. ashtray says:
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    Is it possible that he’s learned how to induce more popups? That might explain some of it.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @ashtray: The higher pop-up rate (to go along with the higher flyball rate) would help to explain his lower BABIP (.287, down from .327 and .318 the previous two years), but it wouldn’t necessarily suggest that his career high strand rate (79.3%; career 74.8%) is sustainable. All of that, especially when combined with a spike in hard contact rate, more or less cancels itself out, I think.

  3. Tony says:
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    Thanks for the great write up! Where would you rank Quintana compared to Nola, Jon Gray, Teheran, and Rodon?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Tony: Thanks! I’d rank them Quintana, Teheran, Nola, Gray, Rodon for the rest of this season. Nola might’ve topped this list about six weeks ago, but his rough stretch since then might indicate an injury (or just a dead arm period).

  4. Odor's Odor-izzi spray says:
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    Has the average fly ball distance against him gone up or down this year? I guess with the homer increase its probably gone up. With homers up across the league it would be interesting if someone came up with a kind of normalization constant to account for the league wide increase to get a better comp to his last year and career rates.

    Do you think the called strike rate is unsustainable? That sinker data is weird, that’s such a dramatic increase to be coupled with a decrease in ground balls. Is the rest of his pitch mix about the same? Anyway, great article, very helpful stuff. Looking to grab another starter for the stretch run if the price is right, so it’s good to hear someone be bearish on him with good reasons behind it to throw some caution to the wind.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Odor’s Odor-izzi spray: I’m not sure about the average distance against Quintana. I usually don’t put too much stock into that stat as well as a metric like quality of contact (which is why I didn’t mention his 33.0% Hard%, which would easily be a career high) for pitchers because I don’t think that pitchers have the same measure of control over those things as hitters do. That being said, it would be interesting to see if there are any significant differences in those areas.

      The increased sinker usage is the only major difference in his pitch usage from a year ago. Roughly the same rate of fourseamers, but he pretty much ditched his cutter and cut down on his curve and changeup slightly in favor of the sinker. In light of that, the spike in FB% is odd.

      Thanks for the kind words!

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Big Magoo: the contact percentage is a tough cookie. I only notice when a pitcher induces lots of soft or medium and limits the hard hit percentage. I guess same could be said goinfg the other way too. I hate that overuse of that stat. Like exit velocity….enough already!

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @J-FOH: For pitchers, I think it’s only really useful when looking at the guys at the extreme ends of the spectrum. It makes sense that soft tossers like Mike Fiers and Colby Lewis get smacked around when they make mistakes, and it’s almost impossible to square up Zach Britton’s sinker. Nothing fluky about those results.

  5. J-FOH says:
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    I recall our long talks on quintana. I thought maybe we were wrong but he has fulfilled his better in real life label. I was looking at paxton and think he might deserve a longer look. Just a suggestion. I’m enjoying the fine beaches of the whales vagina this week. Sun and boobs. Doest get any better

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @J-FOH: Quintana’s basically what I expected him to be, just a tick better in ratios and K-rate at the moment. Those seem to be correcting in the summer heat at the Cell though. People are enamored with Paxton because he’s a hard throwing lefty for the most part. I’ve never been a huge fan. Enjoy the vacation!

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Big Magoo: in greys post yesterday I talked about how unlucky paxton has been. Go look over him again. Will be watching ROS thinking about next year.

  6. Chris says:
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    Hello Magoo,

    H2H Mix 12th teams, 3 keepers

    Would you consider Tanaka a good target to get on a trade?
    I’m thinking of offering a rd 9-10 of next year’s draft. I can go as high as rd 8.

    Tanaka would not be a keeper on my team.

    thanks for your comments,

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Chris: Hey Chris! Tanaka is kind of like the right-handed version of Quintana in a lot of ways. Beats you with control and variety over velocity. I’d be worried about his elbow long term, but there’s obviously less risk involved if you’re just looking for a two month rental. If you need pitching help, that deal sounds fine.

  7. Chris says:
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    Hello Magoo,

    another trade can be to target Tulowitzki, as I currently have Espinosa on my team, and he can get badly cold in any moment.

    Most probaly will have to give a RD 9-10 for him.

    thanks for your comments.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Chris: Is it an either/or scenario for Tanaka and Tulo? I’d be more concerned with Espinosa keeping up his production than acquiring pitching help if that’s the case. Tulo’s been on fire over the past month too. That deal sounds good.

  8. Jason says:
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    Hi I have a question about Quintana and I’m looking for your thoughts/opinion

    I’m in a 12 team 10×9 category H2H “keep forever” dynasty league with 40 man rosters.

    The hitting cats are: H R HR RBI SB TB BB K AVG OPS
    The pitching cats are: IP K/9 K/BB ERA WHIP QS W HRA SV+HLD

    I’m currently in 2nd place and gearing up for a playoff run. I have an offer where I trade Pollock/Hendricks for Quintana/Domingo Santana or Altherr/O’Day

    Now I want to improve my pitching staff and my team’s chances but this feels a little light, am I right? Or am I over-valuing Pollock in this case?

    If I’m wrong, is the package enough and which player would you want Altherr or Santana?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Jason: For this season, I’d rather have Altherr over Santana, but I think that both offers are light for Pollock/Hendricks. Hendricks is roughly even with Quintana in my view, and Pollock has quite a bit of value in a dynasty (despite his health issues). I’d hold there.

  9. Joey says:
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    In a 12 team H2H dynasty with K/9, K/BB, ERA, WHIP, QS as the pitching categories, would you rather have Teheran or Gerrit Cole?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Joey: I’d rather have Cole in a dynasty

  10. cobi says:
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    quick question because i’m struggling with a decision . I have 2 catchers who are raking. jonathan lucroy & willson Contreras. who would u trade for gerrit cole or ian kennedy? or keep both catchers

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @cobi: Flip one of those guys (preferably Contreras) for Cole if you can, assuming it’s a redraft format. Keep Contreras over LuCroy if it’s a dynasty.

      • cobi says:
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        Thanks for the advice. Much appreciated. I will ask u more. Trying to win my season league. @Big Magoo:

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