Cubs acquire Jose Quintana

The Cubs acquired starting pitcher Jose Quintana from the White Sox for 4 prospects which you can read about here where I first found out.  I looked up those 4 prospects and couldn’t find them in either the AA or AAA database.  We haven’t done A+ or A leagues this season so we cannot comment on their value.  We can, however, comment on Jose Quintana.  Let’s take a look at his career.

Year WAA Name_TeamID Pos Rank
2012 0.8 Jose_Quintana_CHA PITCH XXXXX
2013 1.7 Jose_Quintana_CHA PITCH XXXXX
2014 2.1 Jose_Quintana_CHA PITCH +151+
2015 2.8 Jose_Quintana_CHA PITCH +089+
2016 4.7 Jose_Quintana_CHA PITCH +038+
2017 0.0 Jose_Quintana_CHA PITCH XXXXX
Total 12.1

Jose Quintana is an outstanding pitcher who may have many many more years of good pitching left in his arm.  This is a real coup and hopefully the White Sox will benefit from those four prospects.   Let’s look at a full line for Jose this season.

Rank WAA IP ERA W L Name_TeamID Pos
XXXXX 0.04 104.3 4.49 4 8 Jose_Quintana_CHA PITCH

According to this data model he’s almost completely average this season.  Most places will tout his 4-8 win/loss record but that’s meaningless.  Let’s look at his ups and downs so far this season:

Date WAA Name_TeamID Pos
2017-04-15 -0.36 Jose_Quintana_CHA PITCH
2017-04-23 -1.03 Jose_Quintana_CHA PITCH
2017-05-01 -0.57 Jose_Quintana_CHA PITCH
2017-05-08 -0.15 Jose_Quintana_CHA PITCH
2017-05-15 0.08 Jose_Quintana_CHA PITCH
2017-05-22 0.63 Jose_Quintana_CHA PITCH
2017-05-29 -0.73 Jose_Quintana_CHA PITCH
2017-06-04 -1.83 Jose_Quintana_CHA PITCH
2017-06-11 -1.36 Jose_Quintana_CHA PITCH
2017-06-19 -1.09 Jose_Quintana_CHA PITCH
2017-06-27 -0.32 Jose_Quintana_CHA PITCH
2017-07-07 0.13 Jose_Quintana_CHA PITCH

Quintana had a rocky year so far with a rough April which he climbed out of and then tanked again.  He has gained +1.83 since 6/4 which is a little over a month.  This is very good.  If he pitches like that for the Cubs in the next 2 1/2 months that would be another +4 for the Cubs.  Our previous estimate yesterday was 92-94 wins if the core championship team started playing like last year.  Another +4 puts them in 94-96 category.  If the NL Central can be taken with 88 wins like in 2003 there is plenty of cushion.

EDIT:  I fell into the stat trap by extrapolating a short term rate to a full season.  That is not proper.  The Cubs can only hope he pitches like his 2016 career high value of +4.7 for the second half of the season.  Divide that by 2 and the Cubs would get +2 out of this trade which would only increase our optimistic estimate from 92-70 to 93-69.  There are  a lot moving parts on a baseball team and one trade won’t do it all.

A team cannot have many sub average pitchers if they expect to advance in the playoffs.  Quintana will fit nicely with Lester, Hendricks , Arrieta, and Montgomery.  Out of those 5 Maddon can pick 4 and Montgomery may be more valuable to the team in relief.

This looks like a good trade.  Future prospects are always a risk.  It’s possible Quintana’s contract is up at the end of this season which means 1) he’ll be pitching for his new contract and 2) if the Cubs won’t be able to afford his asking price that means he pitched well for them.

Tomorrow Cubs start a series with BAL.  Until then….