Jose Quintana has defied the odds all season. Odds were a 23-year-old with less than 50 innings pitched above Single-A couldn't immediately succeed in the majors. And odds were that, even if he strung together a few good starts, that success wouldn't continue.
Now, the odds are starting to turn. And by a few measures, maybe the Sox should hope Quintana doesn't continue defying the odds.
Quintana has a 1.53 ERA after throwing eight shutout innings on Sunday, but more important for his future is that his FIP continues to fall while his BABIP continues to rise. His 3.17 FIP and .267 BABIP both indicate some sort of regression is probably in store -- Quintana isn't Pedro Martinez, after all -- but whatever it is, it may not be too severe.
Of course, there will come a time when the league will catch up to Quintana. He doesn't throw much of a changeup, which is a rarity for successful starters. Consider that only one starter in baseball throws neither a changeup nor splitter, that being Justin Masterson. Yovani Gallardo's repertoire has been similar to Quintana's this year, but that's Yovani Gallardo. Like Masterson, he has electric stuff. Quintana, for all his success, doesn't have electric stuff.
But it's been easy to forget that Quintana still has yet to throw an inning at the Triple-A level in his career. Last year at this time he was pitching in Single-A with the Yankees, and two years ago he split time between rookie ball and low-level Single-A. His poise while with the White Sox has been incredible, to do what he's done with such little experience at higher levels.
There isn't a timetable for John Danks to return at this point. That means Quintana will have what may be an extended opportunity to secure a rotation spot when Danks returns. The ideal scenario for the White Sox, obviously, would be for Gavin Floyd and Philip Humber to improve and possibly allow for another six-man rotation, thus helping keep Chris Sale and Jake Peavy fresh.
But if Floyd andor Humber continue to struggle and Quintana continues to succeed, it could lead to a rotation shakeup when Danks returns. That may be a long way off, but for right now, there are plenty of signs that point to Quintana being able to hold down the fort.