Jose Quintana's Velocity Was Up a Bit in His Second Start, But Still Lower Than Last Year

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Jose Quintana’s Velocity Was Up a Bit in His Second Start, But Still Lower Than Last Year

Chicago Cubs

We’ll see if there’s a game today featuring Jose Quintana’s third start of the year (and if there is, whether the conditions allow us to evaluate much of anything – it’s just ugly out). But for now, some comments on his last start, which was far better than his first start of the season.

Completing 6.0 full innings with just 87 pitches against the Brewers in Milwaukee, Quintana allowed no earned runs on three hits, while striking out six batters and walking just two. In all, that earned him a 72 Game Score, which is higher than all but six of his starts last season. Like I said, far better than his first time out, when he struggled against the Marlins.

Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, his velocity ticked up a bit in that second start. Quintana’s velocity was uncharacteristically down a couple miles per hour in his initial start against the Marlins, which immediately made it something to monitor.

Here’s a quick look at Quintana’s four-seam fastball velocity over the years, via Brooks Baseball, for reference:

Avg. Four-seam Velocity (Career)

2012: 90.8 MPH
2013: 92.1 MPH
2014: 92.3 MPH
2015: 92.0 MPH
2016: 92.6 MPH
2017: 92.6 MPH
2018: 91.4 MPH

So far, in 2018, his four-seam velocity is down around 91.4 MPH, which is a little more than a mile per hour slower than his previous average (and he has tended not to be a slow starter on the velocity front). The same goes for his sinker:

Avg. Sinker Velocity (Career)

2012: 90.8 MPH
2013: 92.2 MPH
2014: 92.1 MPH
2015: 92.1 MPH
2016: 92.5 MPH
2017: 92.4 MPH
2018: 91.0 MPH

Obviously, it’s been just two starts – pitchers tend to ramp up their velocity as the season goes on – but this is a fairly notable drop, as you can tell. Fortunately, as I mentioned, the velocity was a bit better in the second game:

Game 1 (@MIA):

Four-seamer: 90.8 MPH
Sinker: 90.5 MPH

Game 2 (@MIL):

Four-seamer: 91.8 MPH
Sinker: 91.3 MPH

So, then, he gained a tick on both pitches in his second start – which is great! – but it is still about a half-mile below where he was last season. And for what it’s worth, his first start last season didn’t display the same drop we saw this year, as he was sitting 92.5 MPH and 93.1 MPH with his four-seamer and sinker for the White Sox/against the Tigers. That’s generally been the case for him in his career – he’s not been a guy who starts out slow and then ramps it up significantly.

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

I tend to believe that Quintana could survive with a fastball between 91-92 MPH, because 1) that’s not a significant drop, and 2) he was never a high-velocity pitcher, but given that he’s just 29 he probably shouldn’t be losing too much of his fastball at this point. So it is something we’ll keep an eye on.

Hopefully soon we’ll see him back in that 92-93 MPH range and this will all fade from our memory by mid-season.

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami