On paper, Jose Quintana is the No. 4 starter for the Chicago White Sox in 2013.
If what he’s done in Spring Training is of any indication, though, he might just be ready for the type of season that could quickly change his place in the depth chart.
Sure, it might not count for a whole lot, but Quintana is unequivocally the best starting pitcher in the White Sox camp right now. Not only has he been nearly unhittable (four hits over 12.1 innings) — he’s been unhittable with style to boot.
Just ask the Oakland Athletics, who sent 22 batters to face the lefty on Friday’s Cactus League matchup — or rather, ask the nine of them that were set down on strikes. Quintana rolled through the A’s regulars for 5.2 innings, allowing a pair of runs in the sixth (both inherited by Ramon Troncoso) but putting on a show otherwise, giving up just two hits and walking three to add to the whiffs he collected.
While Quintana wasn’t exactly a strikeout artist in his rookie season last year (5.35 K/9), this kind of brilliance on the mound was something that he flashed at times, perhaps most notably in his pair of eight-inning shutouts in June of 2012.
Now having 136.1 big league innings under his belt, the sophomore seems to be a different level in training this year as he heads into the season with a more important role than expected due to John Danks‘ continued struggles.
It’s something that the White Sox is going to need too, considering that starting pitching is going to be more of a focus this season after 2012′s revelations from Chris Sale and a resurgent Jake Peavy. A breakout season from Quintana, who was a 1.9 fWAR player in 2012, will go a very long way to countering the Detroit Tigers‘ stacked rotation as the two rivals look to battle for the division crown all season.
So it’s good news that if anything, their 24-year old lefty looks up to the challenge. Quintana will get one more outing to finish up his preparation for the regular season; though, considering that he has a 0.98 BAA and an 11.07 K/9 right now, you might even question whether he even really need it.