Jose Quintana Worked the Change, Upped the Velo, Smiled, and Other Bullets

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Jose Quintana Worked the Change, Upped the Velo, Smiled, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Woke up at 1:30 am with a screaming pain my neck – apparently I’d been sleeping wonky. There wasn’t much in the way of sleep after that and the pain has barely dissipated. It just feels like a crick in the neck, which usually goes away eventually, but it’s a little more widespread than usual and quite a bit more painful. But I’m typing, baby. This is my commitment (ow) to you (ow).

  • Be advised, at long last, a Cubs Spring Training game will be on your TV! Today’s game at 2pm CT against the Brewers is on WGN-9.
  • You don’t need to see much more than this headline to know that Jose Quintana doesn’t want his third-time-through-the-order problems to persist in 2019:

  • Sure enough, the changeup has been a focus for Quintana for precisely that reason ( “I’m happy when I see how I feel with that changeup in different situations. I need to use one more pitch. It’s hard to pitch with two pitches three rounds with a lineup. And I’ve got it, so they want to use it more. And I feel good when I have it like I threw the changeup today.” Quintana held batters to a .739 OPS the first time through, and then a .629 OPS the second time through. Third time through? .934. (He faced just four batters, total, for a fourth time in a game ALL season.)
  • To be sure, Quintana throws two different fastballs (four-seam, two-seam) in addition to his curveball, so he’s not exactly a mere two-pitch pitcher, though his fastballs do track at identical velocities and near-identical vertical movement. His two-seamer obviously just moves more laterally. Still, having an effective changeup in the mix helps further differentiate, and also could reduce his split against righties, who fared significantly better against him last year (.323 wOBA, 4.59 FIP) than fellow lefties (.303 wOBA, 3.89 FIP). The good news is that Quintana has a long track record of mixing his pitches well, including the changeup, and has already made a mechanical adjustment to improve his command. It’s become too easy to forget how consistently very, very good he was prior to come to the Cubs.
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
  • Because yesterday’s game was in a Statcast park, we got some data. Not sure if the gun was hot, but Quintana was hitting 92.5, 93 mph with his fastball, which would not only be REALLY fast for his first Spring start, it would be above where he was peaking last season. The other pitchers’ numbers didn’t seem hot, though, with Tyler Chatwood around 93/94 mph with his fastball, and Carl Edwards Jr. in that same range (which is what you’d expect for a first outing for him). So … maybe Quintana’s velo was up? Something to keep an eye on.
  • Other metric info from the game:

  • Geez – can you throw a more perfect pitch than the one that Young homered off of?
  • Top Cubs pitching prospect Adbert Alzolay (side) has been cleared to start throwing ( He won’t be making the big league team out of camp – he wasn’t going to anyway – but he’s still got a chance to contribute at some point this year, most likely in the bullpen in the second half if it happens at all. Otherwise, you’re just looking for a healthy year of starting and refining at AAA Iowa, then he can be on the radar to compete for an open rotation job in 2020 and beyond.
  • A reminder that the extra clearance and free shipping ends today:

  • Phillies players are happy, good for them:

  • And KB is happy for his friend:

  • Baseball is coming:

  • Get the eff outta here with trying to hit a baseball:

  • You just watch that, from that view, and it’s like, how on earth does any batter make contact, let alone make hard contact, let alone decide when a pitch is worth swinging at and when a pitch isn’t, let alone tracks the spin and movement and changing speeds of a pitch. It’s just so fridiculous. (That was a typo that I’m leaving because it makes sense. It’s a new word now. Dibs.)
  • It is for that reason, by the way, that when you hit a homer, you can celebrate any damn way you please:

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.