Quintana's Control Fix, Duensing's Diet, Wainwright's Strike Comments, and Other Bullets

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Quintana’s Control Fix, Duensing’s Diet, Wainwright’s Strike Comments, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

In anticipation of the final season arriving, I’m in a ‘Game of Thrones’ re-watch. Five years later, knowing full well what is coming, the resolution of a certain duel between two men in a certain middle season still crushes me.

  • When you post screencaps, like Sahadev Sharma does here, it can make minor mechanical issues look so obvious in hindsight:

  • There, you can see that Jose Quintana was pointing his right foot up in a weird way for most of last season – something Tommy Hottovy noticed on video and then sought to correct in August – which was apparently contributing to his uncharacteristic wildness last year. It was at times easy to miss because of certain other pitchers’ story lines, but Quintana was one of the wildest starting pitchers in baseball last year, despite never previously being that kind of pitcher. We didn’t know about the mechanical tweak, but we started noticing the control improve in August of last year, which is heartening to now know that there was a clear mechanical change that accompanied it.
  • Sharma’s piece is a much deeper dive on Quintana’s 2018 season and what he intends to improve upon this year. The biggest thing? Get that changeup working so that he has a third pitch to help him get through the lineup more than twice. Remember how disastrous he was the third time through the order last year? With his fastball, curveball, and an effective changeup, he can still be a very good mid-rotation starter.
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
  • The Cubs sure do have so many bounceback candidates in the bullpen, eh:

  • Like with Brandon Kintzler, Duensing is under contract for this year ($3.5 million), which means he’ll get a full and fair look this Spring to make the bullpen. But also like Kintzler, he’s coming off an extremely forgettable season, and is firmly in his mid-30s. Kintzler has a longer track record of success before last year, but Duensing offers a lefty arm. He’ll have a chance to win a spot in the bullpen, but given the extreme volume of options the Cubs have brought in – most recently, lefty Xavier Cedeño – Duensing is far from guaranteed a job in the eight-man bullpen to open the season.
  • A reminder that guys like Willson Contreras necessarily have other things on their mind at times:

  • ESPN has been ranking the various positions around baseball, and as you might expect, Anthony Rizzo shows up in a special tier of first basemen, together with the other three big names: Freddie Freeman, Joey Votto, and Paul Goldschmidt. Those are the clear top four first basemen in baseball, and three of them are in the same division.
  • Speaking of which, Joey Votto for president of baseball:

  • Speaking of which:

  • To be sure, it *could* be the case that four teams were waiting out the resolution of some other player situation, and then, when it happened, they immediately turned to Mark Reynolds on that day. But it’s just another one of those stories that doesn’t look great for MLB.
  • Big sale still going on at Fanatics today, including free shipping.
  • Awesome:

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.