MLB: Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals

South Side Morning 5: Jose Quintana is Just Fine

1. Jose Quintana’s early season struggles are firmly in the past after Tuesday’s gem in a 6-0 win over the Royals. He’s now thrown 14 innings in his last two starts, allowing one earned run and four walks while striking out 17.

“But it’s just the Royals” you say tauntingly, as you’ve astutely observed that each of Quintana’s last two outings have come against the Royals, who have scored just 69 runs in their 25 games this season (2.76 runs per game). This is true and the Royals are bad, but what ailed Quintana during his first few starts of the season was a lack of fastball command, and in each of the last two starts, as well as the start before that against Cleveland, he once again demonstrated his ability to place his fastball all over the zone, keeping hitters guessing with heat that sat firmly in the 92-93 mph range.

Quintana’s ability to adapt and find success in different circumstances is impressive. In last last start against the Royals, he struck out 10, generating 16 swings and misses, using his curveball as an out pitch. On Tuesday, that number shrunk to eight as he pitched to contact, but the Royals were never able to barrel anything up.

2. The White Sox went with the all-Garcia outfield once again on Monday after, as expected, they called up Willy Garcia to replace the demoted Jacob May. Garcia (the one who was just promoted) was tearing the cover off the ball at Triple-A through the first month of the season, sporting a .923 OPS with four home runs in 81 plate appearances. For someone who has been in an MLB organization since 2010 (when he was 17), this is a well-earned opportunity, although one he might not be getting if he were with a franchise with bigger aspirations in 2017. Whether he can truly handle center field in a pinch is yet to be determined, but given Rick Renteria’s propensity to shuffle around the lineup on a pretty regular basis, even if he can’t he should be afforded plenty of opportunities at the plate in both Avisail Garcia’s and Melky Cabrera’s stead on days off or when they’re playing DH.

3. James Shields isn’t progressing in the way he nor the White Sox had hoped and is being slowed down, Renteria said before Tuesday’s game.

“His lat that might be a little bit of a — it’s not a green so we’re going to kind of slow him down,” Renteria said. “He’s been throwing every other day, and we’re going to kind of shut that down a little bit and let that calm down and then we’ll proceed after that.”

Shields has been out with a lat strain since April 21 and there doesn’t seem to be a timetable for his return. Given how his 2016 struggles, the fact that he showed signs of life early on this year, and the fact that we’re stuck watching Mike Pelfrey (making his third start on Wednesday), the setback is unfortunate.

4. Anthony Swarzak hadn’t pitched since Saturday so was given the ninth inning on Tuesday with Quintana at 102 pitches and the game out of reach. He struck out one and didn’t allow a baserunner, and is now un-scored upon in 10 outings this season, striking out 15 and walking just one in 13.1 innings.

The White Sox bullpen entered the season as one of the team’s few strengths, and that was before Swarzak and Tommy Kahnle turned out to be flame-throwing dragons. I never expected to be one thinking things like “why is Swarzak being wasted when the game is out of reach?” at any point in my life let along one month after he made the 25-man roster. But … well, here we are.

5. We are about six weeks away from the MLB Draft and the folks at MLB Pipeline came out with their first mock draft of the season. Analysts Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo had the White Sox selecting prep lefty D.L. Hall and Florida right-hander Alex Faedo, respectively, with the No. 11 pick in the first round. Mock drafts are fun to follow and provide at least some insight into where players are expected to go, but it’s likely we’ll hear quite a few more names linked to the White Sox as the draft draws nears. The Ringer’s Michael Baumann discusses some of the college players worth watching in Monday’s episode of The Catbird Speaks.

Lead Photo Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

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9 comments on “South Side Morning 5: Jose Quintana is Just Fine”


Speaking of drafts, is it time to be worried about Zach Collins? What’s worse is that over the winter Hostetler went out of his way to tell us that he was the number one player on their board. Maybe Hostetler doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing.


Nothing helps rebuild a farm system quite like impatience.
Kyle Schwarber is only hitting .196. He’s probably a bust too.

Seems to me Collins is primarily focused on improving his catching. It could be that his body needs to adjust to the everyday-catching workload. Certainly his batting eye hasn’t been affected.


. . . Or maybe the “bat dip” Collins has is a problem. I think for the number one player on their board his performance so far has to be a concern.

Nick Schaefer

Last year’s draft really did not have a consensus number one pick. Collins’ bat was widely regarded as a sure thing, so if you thought he could catch–which Hostetler clearly does, and there is increasing evidence that he was right–then who among 1-9 do you think is obviously better? Senzel seems safe I guess?


Everything I read about Collins was that if you thought he could catch he was a top 10 pick. I never saw anything remotely putting him as the top player in the draft. An advanced college bat should be showing it in high A. How much of a factor is his bat dip and why did/does Hostetler discount that?

Nick Schaefer

Even people who didn’t think he’d stick at catcher thought he was fair value at 10 given his bat.

As far as how he’s doing so far…well, the average and power aren’t what you’d like to see, but he’s still walking like crazy and not striking out much. Catcher development is hard, and the consensus seems to be he’s working his tail off to improve defensively and it’s showing real dividends.

Right now I’d be pleased that it’s looking more like he’ll stick at catcher than instead of worrying about him hitting ~.240 after a month of play.

I’m not sure I parse your last question. If you’re referring to his current “slump” then it happened a year after the draft and I’m not sure how that can…retroactively impact his draft value?


Collins has a relatively pronounced hitch in his swing that I read bothered some scouts before last year’s draft. Given his start this year, I wonder what Hostetler’s thoughts are now on that.

Nick Schaefer

That’s distinctly possible. I know Keith Law mentioned that he felt better about Collins’ bat-to-ball ability once he saw him in pro ball last year, but mileage may vary.

As a side note, I had hoped they’d pop Kyle Lewis when he was still available at ten, but they may already have had a handshake deal in place with Collins.


I guess it comes down to me be skeptical of Hostetler’s ability because I’m skeptical of any front office hire under this ownership. They will never spend to get the cream of the crop.

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