The Indians have a budding star on the mound with Cal Quantrill.
Cal Quantrill came to Cleveland as part of the Mike Clevinger trade that sent the embattled pitcher to San Deigo. The Tribe got back (injured) outfielder Josh Naylor, struggling backup catcher Austin Hedges, struggling infielder Owen Miller, minor leaguers Gabriel Arias, and Joey Cantillo, and of course Quantrill.
Quantrill was a starter/long-reliever but was a very promising player and one who had both San Diego and Cleveland very excited about his potential. He started with the Indians as a reliever and became one of the more impactful players in the Tribe’s bullpen, especially in 2021.
Yet, due to injuries to Shane Bieber, Aaron Civale, and Zach Plesac, coupled with the struggles of Triston McKenzie and other players thrown in starter roles, Quantrill was moved from the pen to the starting rotation. He got his first start of 2021 against the White Sox on May 31.
It would take him some time, but after a half-dozen odd starts, Quantrill is finally putting up over six innings per game. That’s not the only thing he’s started doing better, as he’s become one of the team’s most complete pitchers.
Cal Quantrill is showing why he was so highly regarded
The Indians’ new(ish) starter is averaging six innings, giving up just over 3.5 hits, under 2.5 runs, and just .5 home runs per start. His ERA on the season is just 3.13 and while he isn’t getting a lot of wins, it’s not been due to anything he’s been doing wrong.
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The Tribe is just struggling to produce runs and hold leads at the moment. So it’d be fair to say that since July, Quantrill has been the team’s best pitcher.
The problem is that there aren’t five Quantrills in the rotation right now. McKenzie and Plesac have fallen off of a cliff from where they were in 2020. Plesac had a 3.56 ERA in May, but he’s now ballooned up to a 4.84, and it’s climbed every game since May 18. He did miss all of June, and he may be dealing with lingering issues from then, but that excuse doesn’t help the team.
In a similar fashion, McKenzie has also struggled, holding a 5.00+ ERA since May 15. While he’s put together two great back-to-back outings against the Blue Jays and A’s, he still has a long way to go.
When you keep in mind everything that’s been going on with the Tribe’s rotation, it’s actually kind of a miracle Quantrill has shown up like has. He’s established himself as a genuine third-starter for the Tribe, and that wouldn’t have happened without the team struggling with injuries.
Talk about a silver lining.