As the last of the minor league All-Star games play out, let’s check back in on San Diego Padres prospect, RHP Cal Quantrill.
A 2016 first-round pick of the San Diego Padres out of Stanford University, Cal Quantrill is finally logging big innings in the minor leagues but is he still a top prospect within the organization? Has he shown development in being able to limit baserunners? Lastly, how much longer until fans see him in the big leagues? Let’s dive back into Quantrill, someone we haven’t taken a look at since the early part of this season.
First, the basic numbers on Quantrill. He’s spent the entire season with the Double-A San Antonio Missions, logging 98 innings 18 starts, as of July 10th. He holds a 6-4 record with a 4.32 ERA as he approaches his career-high in innings pitched since undergoing Tommy John surgery.
One of his biggest claims to fame is his highly rated changeup. Here’s what Quantrill had to say about it to Fangraphs’ David Laurila, back in May,
"“It’s a feel pitch. You throw it as hard as you can and let it come off your fingertips a little differently. It’s something I’ve played around with for years and years now, and I feel very confident in it. It’s a pitch I go to in important counts, which I think is a separator between me and other guys who throw a changeup."
In that same article, Quantrill states that he is working to improve his third pitch, a slider, as he continues to build innings and work towards the big leagues. Despite struggles with giving up a high number of hits and a growing belief among a few prospect evaluators that his secondaries will develop into nothing more than average or even below-average pitches, Quantrill remains ranked as the fourth best prospect in the Padres organization, 32nd overall in MLB.
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So, what kind of statistical improvements have we seen from Quantrill after making the jump from the California League to Texas League?
His walk-rate remains exactly the same at 7.6% but his strikeout rate is down a touch, from 24% to 20%. He’s producing slightly more groundballs this year and allowing a slight number of fewer home runs (0.61 HR/9 in High-A, down to 0.55/9 in Double-A). If he can continue to develop his slider, those numbers should remain steady as he moves up the ladder.
While his ERA is at 4.32, his FIP is 3.73, better than his 3.87 in Lake Elsinore and his 4.38 in eight starts with San Antonio last season. His 8.08 K/9 rate isn’t eye-popping, but it’s respectable. However, when you pair that with a 3.03 BB/9 rate and a .267 average against, you get another high WHIP from Quantrill, currently at 1.42.
He has six outings under his belt in which he threw six or more innings and gave up two or fewer runs. He walked four hitters in his last outing on July 8th, however, it was the first time he had walked more than two batters in an outing since May 18th.
Is he a front-line starting pitching prospect, no. However, with the success Joey Lucchesi and Eric Lauer are having this year, it gives hope to the future prospects of Quantrill, once he reaches the major leagues. Come next spring training, Quantrill will find himself in competition with the likes of Logan Allen and Jacob Nix for a spot in the major league rotation but there’s no cause for concern if he doesn’t come out victorious (unless he completely falls apart in spring training, of course.)
He may be 24 when next season starts, however, he has only 251 innings under his belt in the minors.
Reminder, if you aren’t in the San Antonio area, you can watch Cal Quantrill and the San Antonio Missions on MiLB.TV, all season long.