The Chicago White Sox have a talented 23-year-old lefty who has impressed in his starts this season. No, I'm not talking about Chris Sale.
Sale has earned All-Star consideration to be certain with his first half to date. However, another young southpaw has opened some eyes around the league as well.
Jose Quintana picked up his second win of the season in St. Louis Tuesday night, allowing one run in 5.1 innings as the White Sox defeated the Cardinals 6-1. Quintana allowed 10 hits on the night but kept St. Louis off the scoreboard until the sixth.
Quintana has recently been taking John Danks' spot in the rotation. In four starts, he has gone 2-1 and posted an ERA of just 1.98. He has done his job and more, keeping his team in contention in all of his starts.
Quintana, who was signed as a free agent after spending time in the Mets and Yankees organizations, made his MLB debut on May 7. He took over for Phil Humber in Cleveland after Humber had given up eight runs in less than three innings of work.
Quintana went the rest of the way that afternoon, blanking the Indians and giving Chicago a chance to chip away at the lead. The White Sox lost 8-6 that day, but Quintana has been a reliable arm ever since.
In fact, a lot of folks wouldn't mind seeing Quintana replace Humber in the rotation once Danks is set to return. I agree that he should keep getting the ball for now. However, I'm not sure I want to see Quintana in the rotation from here on out.
Including the 48.2 innings Quintana has thrown in nine starts for Double-A Birmingham, he has tossed 76 innings in 2012. That is already more than he has thrown in any of his previous seasons save for 2011, when he logged 102 innings. Last summer, he spent the bulk of his time in the bullpen, with 18 of his 30 appearances coming in relief.
The 2012 season is his first above-A ball. It doesn't seem realistic to expect him to continue to be this effective over the long haul. Like his fellow lefty Sale, Quintana should have a limit to his workload this season.
Remember that Sale has had two seasons of big league experience and there is still concern with his innings reaching the 200-inning neighborhood. Quintana shouldn't be expected to approach that total.
I would expect Quintana to be optioned to the minors in a week or two, where he can build on his success. It wouldn't surprise me to see him back up in case of an injury or trade. I think he's better off in Birmingham than in the Chicago bullpen so that he's ready to start some games when needed.
It's hard to forecast his role with the White Sox in the coming months. For now, I like Quintana right where he is.