Fantasy Baseball 2018: Jose Quintana is undervalued

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 19: Jose Quintana
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 19: Jose Quintana /

The Cubs have a solid back-end of the rotation with Jose Quintana in the fourth spot. He should post close to SP1 numbers as an eighth-round pick.

The Chicago Cubs let Jake Arrieta go but signed Yu Darvish to make up the difference. Some may have forgotten about Jose Quintana. He reinvented himself when he was traded to the Cubs at the trade deadline last season. He is going undervalued in drafts this season.

Quintana made 18 starts before being traded. In those games, he pitched to a 4.49 ERA, 1.323 WHIP, 109 strikeouts and 40 walks in 104.1 innings. He posted a 4-8 record, but that’s likely due to the poor White Sox offense.

His groundball and fly ball rates went in the wrong direction to start the season. But things changed when he was traded to the cross-town team.

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Quintana made 14 starts for the Cubs last season, finishing with a 3.74 ERA, 1.103 WHIP, 98 strikeouts and 21 walks. The big improvement came to his batted ball profile. His groundball rate went up five percent and fly ball rate dropped seven percent with the move.

For the season, Quintana posted a better swinging strike and first-pitch strike rate compared to his 2016 season. He allowed more home runs but home runs were up across the league. He didn’t lose velocity on his fastball, which is a good sign.

In his first four seasons with the Chicago White Sox, Quintana made at least 32 starts and pitched a minimum of 200 innings. He’s increased his strikeouts in each season while maintaining the same walk rate. Fantasy owners who drafted him last season were disappointed with his first couple of months.

I don’t expect 2014-2015 Quintana as far as his ERA is concerned (3.32 ERA) but he bounced back enough at the halfway point to warrant a top-100 draft pick in standard leagues. He didn’t give up more hits than usual but the balls were leaving the park at a higher rate.

Quintana failed to reach 200 innings for the first time since his rookie season. Though, he posted a higher strikeout rate with an elevated walk rate. Though, he did strike out more than 200 batters for the first time in his career.

Next: Is Ronald Acuna a top-40 outfielder?

The National League Central features a couple of poor offenses, which Quintana should be able to take advantage of. He’s being drafted as an SP3 but could finish closer to an SP1.