2020 in review: Cleveland picked up Quantrill from the Padres in the Mike Clevinger deal. Cal Quantrill, the son of former MLB pitched Paul, is a former first round pick (2016) out of Stanford. He made his debut in 2019 as a starter to mixed results (103IP, 5.16 ERA/4.28FIP) and was a reliever in 2020, though he made some ‘opener’ type starts for Cleveland and was very effective in Cleveland overall, posting a 1.84 ERA in 14.2IP with 13 strikeouts.
On the mound: Coming out of the draft, Quantrill was a four-seam/changeup arm with not much of a breaking ball to speak of. He developed his slider and moved to a sinker/slider mix out of the bullpen in his 2020 role, which worked but had mixed results. His sinker (94.9MPH – 2151 RPM) was most effective, holding hitters to a .208 average and .208 SLG. He also induced a 44 GB% overall (7 average launch angle against the sinker). It was also his putaway pitch 34% of the time. He threw his slider 35.3% of the time but allowed a .292/.510 line against it. His slider was only marginally more effective in 2019. Quantrill’s changeup (10.7% usage rate – 85.5MPH), had a whiff rate of 26.9% and a .231/.308 mark against. He does have his four seam still (6% usage) that allowed three htis (2B, HR) out of 30 pitches thrown. He threw a curveball in 2019 which also got poor results and none of those in 2020.
Beyond the stats: Quantrill’s chageup has long been considered his best pitch and he only used it 10% of the time. If there’s no improvement to the slider, perhaps Quantrill could decrease its usage and replace it with more changeups. He did increase his sinker usage even more, decreased his slider usage, and increased the chageup usage as his time went on with Cleveland in 2021. His slider needs improvement but more changeups and sinkers could be the key to success for Quantrill, with more groundballs even.
2021 role: In camp so far it looks like Quantrill is in competition for a role in the rotation and a good bet to make it. He’s been a starter his whole career until last year and given his pedigree, and potential, this role makes the most sense given Cleveland’s needs and his career right now.
Fantasy impact: Cleveland starters usually get a solid bump in fantasy because of their ability to develop pitching. Quantrill is no different. He might provide mid-rotation upside. While there might not be a lot of strikeouts, his rate stats could be solid and if he made any improvements, he could be a sleeper as well. Someone to pluck late in your drafts as a sleeper pick, but monitor his role and what other pitching goes for in your leagues.
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