(MCT) — The White Sox arrive in New York with the Yankees reeling from the kind of day every big league team dreads. They put CC Sabathia on the disabled list because of a tight groin Wednesday morning, then lost Andy Pettitte to a broken ankle in the afternoon.
Can anything make matters well?
On Friday, the Yankees will get their first look at left-hander Jose Quintana, whom the White Sox plucked off their high Class-A roster when Brian Cashman decided not to add him to his 40-man roster. Imagine the reaction if Quintana continues to pitch as well as he has this season, going 2-1 with a 1.46 ERA in six games.
“We looked at him as a fringy prospect,” Cashman told the New York Post. “We offered him a minor league contract to stay, but not a 40-man roster position. ... It was a numbers game, but right now it does not look like a good decision.”
Quintana, 23, is a huge success story for the White Sox’s scouts and front office, especially assistant general manager Rick Hahn and director of baseball operations Dan Fabian.
Knowing that the organization lacked pitching depth, general manager Ken Williams ordered his lieutenants to try to find left-handers who might be able to contribute in 2012, even as starters. They zeroed in on Quintana as one of the best available guys, acting off information they were given by Daraka Shaheed, one of their pro scouts, and Joe Siers, an amateur scout based outside Tampa, Fla., who adds the Tampa Yankees to his responsibilities after the draft.
While Hahn credits Shaheed and Siers for spotting Quintana’s upside, Shaheed points out that it was Hahn and Fabian who were asking the right questions.
“I only saw him in relief a couple of times,” Shaheed said. “Rick and Dan were the ones who asked if he could start. That’s a lot of vision and creativity on their part. They really thought outside the box looking at a guy in high-A, who was relieving.”
For Shaheed, the thing that stood out about Quintana was his solid delivery — a strength that pitching coach Don Cooper says has helped Quintana be a quick learner.
“His shoulders are always square to the plate,” Shaheed said. “The tools are nice. And watch his face when he pitches. It’s always a battle for him. He’s intense. But I didn’t envision this.”
Siers says the same thing. He got a longer look at Quintana, seeing him in one of the 12 starts he made for the Tampa Yankees last year, and fell in love with him.
Both Siers and Shaheed saw a low-90s fastball, a slider and a cut fastball that were plus pitches. But more than the pitches themselves was how he used them.
“His feel for pitching, for me, was just advanced, especially in A ball,” Siers said. “He wasn’t afraid to live on the inside half (of the plate). You don’t see that at that level. And I felt he was doing it on purpose. Sometimes guys cut the ball every once in awhile, as an accident. Jose was doing it with a purpose. ... And his poise? That’s hard to find with left-handed pitchers, especially young left-handers.”
Quintana began his career with the Mets in 2006, signing as a 17-year-old out of Colombia. He was suspended for using a banned substance in ‘07, and immediately released when the suspension ended. The Yankees signed him and developed him slowly, with him going 10-2 with a 2.91 ERA last season for Tampa.
They tried to re-sign him to a minor league deal but his agent, Melvin Roman, indicated he was going to look elsewhere if he wasn’t added to the 40-man roster. That’s where the White Sox stepped in, thanks to the work of Siers and Shaheed.