5. Cal Quantrill
The Cleveland Guardians are a pitching factory. They have produced dozens of All-Star caliber pitchers over the last decade or so. Cal Quantrill was just another stud in a system that continually produces strong pitchers. Although Quantrill was drafted by the Padres and got his first taste of the majors with San Diego, the bulk of his success and time has been spent with Cleveland.
Quantrill's best seasons, 2021 and 2022, showed him pitching 150 innings or more in each season, starting in at least 22 games, and pitching out of the bullpen at times. In 2021, he had a 2.89 ERA, 4.07 FIP, 1.176 WHIP, and he struck out a little over 7 batters per nine innings. In 2022, he sported a 3.38 ERA, 4.12 FIP, 1.208 WHIP, and an ERA+ of 112. His strikeout numbers dipped to 6.2 per nine innings last year. While Quantrill has never been known as a punchout pitcher, his ability to limit damage (1.1 home runs per nine innings and 8.8 hits per nine innings) has been impressive.
This year, Cal has been fighting injuries. He has seen multiple stints on the IL, most recently for a shoulder injury. Due to his long list of injuries, Quantrill hasn't been able to pitch to his full capabilities. This year, all of his stats have ballooned to career highs. His 6.45 ERA, 4.89 FIP, 11.1 hits per nine innings, 5.1 Ks per nine innings, and 1.567 WHIP are all career worsts. Additionally, his strikeout-to-walk ratio sits at 1.73, a full point below his career average.
Part of the reason for Quantrill's fall this year can be attributed to injury. He has been on the IL three separate times for a shoulder injury, with his first stint being in June. He was just activated on September 1st. Hopefully, with some improved health next year, Quantrill can return to being a top-end starter in a rotation. He still has two years of control, so he could fit in the Cardinals' rotation for the foreseeable future.