As I listed out the players for the Rockies, trying to figure out who deserved to be in the top 10, I really struggled when it came to the pitchers. The Rockies' staff is led by 30-year-old Denver native Kyle Freeland, but after that, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the 2-5 starters, something that should change over the course of the rest of the offseason.
There are a couple of young starting pitchers that could have solid seasons, but Cal Quantrill is a prime bounce back candidate for a Rockies team that is in desperate need of some stability.
Primed for a bounce back season, Cal Quantrill checks in at No. 9 on our 2024 Rockies Player Rankings
Quantrill came over in a trade last month from the Guardians after he was DFA'd to protect some of Cleveland's younger arms. Quantrill dealt with some injuries in 2023 that really derailed his season. He demonstrated legit front of the rotation stuff in 2021 and 2022 with Cleveland. He looked primed to be the next pitching stud from a long line of elite pitchers the Guardians have developed over the years. A healthy Quantrill could prove to be really valuable for the Rockies and could challenge Freeland as the best arm in the rotation.
In 2023, Quantrill only made 19 starts, going 99.2 innings with a 5.24 ERA. Injuries ruined what Quantrill hoped to be another solid season. He went on the IL from April 1 to April 23, then returned to the IL June 2 and wasn't activated until June 30. He was sent right back to the IL on July 6 and spent an extended amount of time rehabbing; Quantrill was not activated until Sept. 1.
When you dig into his numbers from the previous two seasons, you see a really solid starting pitcher, one that possesses front of the rotation stuff. In 2021 and 2022 Quantrill combined to appear in 72 games, throwing 336 innings with a 3.16 ERA. He didn't strike out a lot of batters, with just a 6.7 K/9. but he limited walks, registering a 2.5 BB/9. Things start to look even better for Rockies fans when you look at Quantrill's performance after his return from the IL on September 1 this past season. In his last six starts, Quantrill threw 32.2 innings with a 2.76 ERA, with his walk and strikeout numbers aligning with his career numbers.
In 2023, the Rockies should expect to get someone similar to the 2021 and 2022 Quantrill. This is a solid addition to the Rockies and, by the end of the year, we could be talking about Quantrill in the same conversation as Freeland as the team's best pitcher.