What to Make of New Rockies Pitcher Cal Quantrill

Cal Quantrill of the Colorado Rockies

The Rockies added a former 15-game winner in November when Colorado traded for Cal Quantrill. Quantrill had a rough go of it in 2023 with the Guardians, but now the righty’s set to get a fresh start with Colorado — a team light with pitching depth. Here’s yet another closer look at Quantrill, plus how the Rockies rotation for 2024 looks at the moment.

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A Look at the Trade

Armed with pitching depth, the Guardians — who have Tanner Bibee, Shane Bieber, Gavin Williams, and Triston McKenzie among 2024 rotation options — opted to DFA starter Cal Quantrill this past week.

The 28-year-old battled injuries last season and didn’t do well when on the mound. Even though Quantrill worked well with the curveball and a splitter, the 28-year-old owned an ERA of 5.24 ERA and went backward in BB%, Hard Hit%, and Chase%.

Those who read our recap of when Quantrill was DFA’d should remember that we pointed out that he really struggled with the cutter. The cutter was a prime pitch for him in 2022, but batters hit .330 off it last season.

But what was interesting when further looking into the numbers was how Quantrill actually used the cutter against left-handers in 2023 as compared to 2022.

The righty generally used it against both lefties and righties in both seasons, but Quantrill would often attack left-handed hitters inside. That’s to be expected.

However, not only did Quantrill throw a lot of non-competitive pitches with it in 2023, but he also tried to pick the outer half of the plate against hitters on both sides. When he did try to attack inside against LHH last season, there were instances in which he put it right at the knees, rather than inside to jam the hitter.

Put it in the wrong spot and it can be a problem.

Still, Quantrill is still a year removed from a strong 2022 campaign. That, coupled with the fact that Quantrill is still young (28) and has two years left of control, would explain why a team like Colorado would target Quantrill.

The Rockies’ Rotation in 2024

Arguably the biggest reason why the trade of Quantrill makes sense is that Colorado has holes that need to be filled for the team’s rotation in 2024. That’s not a shock, given that Rockies starters finished dead last in ERA (5.91) and the team itself finished 29th in Hard Hit% (41.2%).

Now, ERA doesn’t tell the whole story for any pitcher — especially with a team like Colorado, one that calls Coors Field home. However, the Rockies didn’t get much in the way of chases last season, which would have helped somewhat.

Quantrill’s been solid at doing that throughout his career, thanks to the aforementioned changeup, cutter, and curveball.

As far as the Rockies’ tentative 2024 rotation goes, Colorado could use the extra bodies. Antonio Senzatela had Tommy John in July 2023, which makes a return in 2024 tough to envision. That injury came two months after German Marquez underwent Tommy John.

The Rockies do have Kyle Freeland as the team’s ace, with Austin Gomber, Ryan Feltner, Connor Seabold, and Peter Lambert as in-house options. Given the lack of depth, it’s not hard to see why Colorado went after the sinkerballer.