Quantrill hits new heights with Missions

Padres No. 4 prospect strikes out 10 in seven shutout frames

Cal Quantrill sports a 1.05 ERA over his last three starts in the Texas League. (Shawn E. Davis/MiLB.com)

By Josh Horton / MiLB.com | June 4, 2018 12:14 AM

From now on, Cal Quantrill is trusting himself. And, as he's found out lately, his abilities are plenty good enough. 

The fourth-ranked Padres prospect scattered three hits while fanning a season-high 10 batters over seven innings in San Antonio's 6-0 win over Springfield on Sunday at Hammons Field. Quantrill threw 62 of his 97 pitches for strikes and lowered his ERA to 4.15. 

Gameday box score

"That was probably the best start I've seen him had this year," Missions pitching coach Jimmy Jones said. "He just seemed from the get-go to have the stuff to be able to get through a pretty good lineup. ... He was very competitive on the mound and he never wavered from his gameplan." 

Quantrill (4-3) hit a rough patch to begin May, surrendering 17 runs over 14 2/3 innings in three starts. The Stanford product has been much better lately, giving up just two earned runs in 17 2/3 innings over his last three outings. 

"I think, at the start of the season, I went through a little bit of a lull there where I kind of got away from what I do best," Quantrill said. "I tried to go up in the zone all the time and I tried to go away and away and away,. And all it took was a couple of guys to tell me, 'Hey, you don't look like you.' All it took was a couple games of catch, a couple of bullpens throwing like I like to throw again to get on the right page." 

Video: Missions' Quantrill punches out 10th batter

Quantrill didn't put much traffic on the bases, but there were some threats. After Cardinals No. 22 prospect Tommy Edman's leadoff single and Stefan Trosclair's walk in the fourth, he induced Yadier Molina to fly out, Lane Thomas to pop out and Evan Mendoza to strike out. Quantrill hit Edmundo Sosa with a pitch to lead off the fifth and Blake Drake followed with a single, but the southpaw struck out Thomas Spitz and Granden Goetzman and induced a groundout from Edman to escape the jam.

"That was big," Quantrill said. "I think that I've had trouble this year with two outs just finishing teams off, finishing lineups off. But today I just don't think we strayed from what was working. A guy gets a hit on a fastball, a slider, a changeup -- it doesn't mean it was a bad pitch anymore. It means you threw one not good one. ... I think I can attribute some of that to some good defense behind me and [catcher Austin Allen] calling a good game, but I feel like I really just stayed after them today, which was key." 

The first-round pick in 2016 had all three of his pitches -- fastball, changeup and slider -- working Sunday, as well as a curveball that he hadn't thrown much this season. 

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"Last year, he was throwing curveball mainly just to see if he could spin one, but he hasn't thrown it much this year because it seemed like he had the natural slot for a slider," Jones said. "But he can still throw a curveball. So now he mainly throws sliders, but he's sprinkling in that curveball about six or seven times, but also throwing it at the right times."

Quantrill's bread and butter remains his changeup, which was dynamic against Springfield, according to Jones. 

"HIs changeup tonight was the changeup I saw about a year-and-a-half ago in Spring Training, where it seemed like he could throw it any time he wanted to and it would be a quality throw," Jones said. "It's been hit-or-miss [this year], but the last two starts, it's been better. He always has a great fastball, but when he has that other pitch in his bag like he's able to throw it, like his changeup, it just makes everything seem to be better, like his slider." 

The Port Hope, Ontario, Canada native made eight starts in the Texas League in 2017, going 1-5 with a 4.04 ERA. 

Matthew Batten belted a grand slam, Allen went 3-for-5 with a double and Michael Gettys whacked a triple and a double for San Antonio. 

Josh Horton is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @joshhortonMiLB This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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