CHICAGO -- Jose Quintana doesn't need victories to paint him as one of Major League Baseball's elite starting pitchers, though he has earned better than his 46-46 career mark with an astonishing 62 no-decisions since 2012.The southpaw doesn't need accolades or approval from around baseball to vindicate his lofty perch,
CHICAGO -- Jose Quintana doesn't need victories to paint him as one of Major League Baseball's elite starting pitchers, though he has earned better than his 46-46 career mark with an astonishing 62 no-decisions since 2012.
The southpaw doesn't need accolades or approval from around baseball to vindicate his lofty perch, though the 28-year-old certainly has drawn rave reviews over the past couple of years, punctuated by his 5 2/3 one-hit innings for Team Colombia against Team USA in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
All one has to do is watch Quintana's workmanlike dominance for a start or two to understand the value of the 2017 White Sox Opening Day starter. Actually, a start isn't even needed to appreciate Quintana.
"Watching him throw is … you can learn something from him no matter where you are in this game," White Sox reliever Zach Putnam said. "Just his ability to go out there and consistently repeat his delivery and his focus is like nothing I've ever seen.
"I've sat down in the bullpen before his starts and watched him go about his work. He's just such a professional. His focus is incredible. I've literally seen him hit 30 straight spots in the bullpen getting ready for a game. Every delivery is the same. It's almost robotic, scary."
There was some debate as to whether Quintana would get this Opening Day honor, and it had nothing to do with whether he deserved it. Teams have been pursuing Quintana since back in December, a trade with the potential to greatly enhance the White Sox rebuild.
And why wouldn't a contending team want Quintana? His delivery and mechanics have been described as nearly flawless, allowing him to hit all quadrants of the zone with relative ease. He's under control for four years at approximately $36 million and stands as a near-perfect clubhouse presence.
As White Sox general manager Rick Hahn has mentioned countless times, Quintana can help any team in baseball, including the White Sox.
"I've seen every sideline, every game, every pitch he's thrown in the big leagues," White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said. "I know where he was when he first came, and I know where he's at now. And I know what we want ahead. A coach's dream -- love him."
"You see Q away from a competitive situation, and he's the nicest guy, understated, always smiling," Putnam said. "Then you see these eyes when he gets in the heat of competition, and it's a little bit scary. I would not want to be on the other end of facing him, for sure."
Quintana calls being on the mound for Opening Day a true honor and very exciting. He will prepare for the Tigers with the sort of intensity akin to every other start, which members of the White Sox organization and their fans know usually means good things.
"I just try and be focused on my catcher," Quintana said. "Him and me, and that's it around the field. Every time I just try to follow the catcher.
"So I just throw the pitch where he wants. I try every four days with my preparation for that. When I go to the mound for sidelines, some stuff, I just try to do that. I try to get better day by day."
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.