Carlos Quentin is a bit of an enigma. He possesses a nice power bat (4-straight 20 homer seasons), strikes out less than other top level sluggers (just a 15.9 percent K-rate), but never seems to be able to put it together because of one injury after another. Tired of the ups and downs, and looking to go with youth, the White Sox dealt Quentin to the Padres for pitchers Simon Castro and Pedro Hernandez (neither arm is an elite level prospect). Can the California born Quentin, who was a 3-sport performer at University of San Diego High, be the middle of the order bat that the Padres need?
Quentin’s main bugaboo is ill health. He’s been a “full-time” player for four years, but he’s never appeared in more than 131 games (don’t forget that includes the ability to function as a DH). As a result, he’s averaged a mere 426 at-bats over those four seasons. Obviously the fact that Quentin has been unable to stay on the field consistently is a major concern if you are planning on Quentin being a centerpiece of your fantasy squad in 2012.
The second major issue with Quentin is the fact that, despite having ample power, that he’s going from one of the best homer hitting havens in the game to one of the worst. “He’s got huge power, so he has hit a good number of homers to right, right-center,” GM Josh Byrnes said. “It’s a tall order for any player in Petco, but from center to the left-field foul pole, they’re gone in any park.” That might be so, but let’s not gloss over the facts here Josh. According to Park Indices, Petco comes in at 8th in the NL for right-handed hitters during the 2011 season, an over the past three years that ranking is also 8th. While that might be better than you thought given Petco’s reputation, it was still two percent below the league average the last three years while U.S. Cellular Field, Quentin’s old home, was 38 percent better than the American League average. That’s a massive difference and is should give you pause with Quentin.
The third issue with Quentin is that, honestly, he’s just not that good of a hitter. Quentin has a career batting average of .252. Moreover, he’s hit better than .254 in just one of his six big league seasons. That number doesn’t figure to improve in the NL playing half his games at Petco.
The fourth issue for Quentin is that he has no base stealing speed. Only once has he stolen as many as four bags, and he’s swiped just 16 bags in his career (616 games).
So what do we have with Quentin? Let’s review.
He has shown a propensity to be injured.
He’ll play half his games in a pitcher’s park.
He’s a below average big league hitter in terms of batting average.
He has no stolen base speed.
I’m not suggesting that Quentin has no value. Quentin has hit at least 20 homers in 4-straight seasons with a career best of 36 in 2008, and per 500 at-bats in his career he’s averaged 29 homers and 91 RBI. Remember though Quentin has never, not once, had 500 at-bats in a season. He’s also produced those numbers in the offensive environments of the the desert (the Diamondbacks) and the Windy City (the White Sox). Given his limitations, his home ball yard, and his record of ending up on the trainers table, you would be wise to view Quentin as nothing more than a mid round outfield gamble in mixed leagues. There’s always a chance that some home cooking will inspire him (for example I know I type much better when I’ve had a nice home cooked meal of SPAM and cheese), but in my mind he simply cannot be trusted to be an elite power bat given the particulars of his situation in 2012.
By Ray Flowers