Rookie Cal Quantrill is quickly establishing himself as a very useful pitcher for the San Diego Padres.
Before the season began, Cal Quantrill was seen as a potential back-end starter for the San Diego Padres.
A poor performance in Spring Training led to him being relegated back to Triple-A El Paso. After making his Major League debut in May, he was shuffled back to the bullpen. The Canadian right-handed pitcher struggled to a 5.23 ERA in six starts his first time around.
For a long while, Quantrill appeared that his time in a Padres jersey would be short, as he was one of many San Diego pitching prospects that were being cast into the trade market as San Diego pursued a top of the rotation starter. Instead, the pitcher who ended up being traded was fellow starter-turned-bullpen piece, Logan Allen. He was shipped off to the Cleveland Indians alongside Franmil Reyes in a three-team deal that brought the Padres Taylor Trammell.
Perhaps what saved Quantrill’s (Canadian) bacon was his performance after being moved back to the rotation on July 2nd. In the eight starts and 44.2 innings he has pitched since transition back to a starting role, Quantrill carries a 2.24 ERA and a 38/7 strikeout to walk ratio. In all but two of those starts, he has allowed only two earned runs or less while his ERA has dropped from 5.23 to 3.32.
What has been of the main catalyst of his newfound success has been his slider, which he has been throwing more and more as the season goes on. The pitch averages 86.4 mph with an average spin rate of 2,365 rpm. Quantrill has thrown his slider in the strike zone 37.5% of times, while it also carries an impressive K% of 35.1. Opposing batters have chased at the pitch 33.1% of the times it has been thrown as his slider has been used more and more as a tool for fetching strikeouts.
Cal Quantrill, 95mph Two seamer and 87mph Slider, Overlaty/Slow pic.twitter.com/8qGN1Jtz9z
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 10, 2019
When he combines his slider with the other pitches in his repertoire, like his plus changeup and two-seam fastball, it can produce incredible results. The above video comes from his August 9th start against the Colorado Rockies when he tossed seven shutout innings and struck out five. Quantrill had the precision of a surgeon that day as every pitch was working for him, evidenced by the 71 strikes he threw out of 102 pitches thrown in the winning effort.
The reigns have been let loose as well, as Andy Green has stated that there will be no innings limit on the former first-round pick. The Padres starting rotation has had its ups and downs, and it appears more than likely that three or four slots will be open for competition when Spring Training opens up in 2020. With the consistency, he has shown and his potential for up to three plus pitches, the opportunity is there for Quantrill to secure a starting spot in 2020.