Quintana trying to find balance after move to first base


Age on opening day 2024: 21

How acquired: Signed as international free agent, July 2019

Ranking: No. 6 per MLB Pipeline, No. 14 per Baseball America

MLB ETA: 2025
* Projected by MLB Pipeline

Signing bonus: $820,000

2023 levels: Single-A Fredericksburg

2023 stats: 92 G, 373 PA, 321 AB, 38 R, 82 H, 11 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 41 RBIs, 0 SB, 0 CS, 44 BB, 104 SO, .256 AVG, .349 OBP, .346 SLG, .694 OPS

2023 analysis: Like T.J. White, the Nationals moved Quintana to first base at the start of the season. But he ended up going back and forth between there and the outfield during his first season in Single-A.

A Venezuela native, he signed with the Nationals when he was 16 as an outfielder. But the logjam in the outfield had the Nats try him out at first base this year. While he adjusted well with a .983 fielding percentage and six errors in 398 innings over 48 games, his bat fell off while not at his natural position.

When he moved back to the outfield, his bat seemed to come back around, but his defense fell off a bit to the tune of an .893 fielding percentage and three errors in 191 innings over 24 games in left field.

Overall at the plate, Quintana went through an adjustment period in the Carolina League after putting up strong numbers in the Rookie-level Florida Complex League over 57 games between 2021 and 2022.

The right-handed bat struggled out of the gate, particularly in May and June. He hit just .218 with a .592 OPS and 43 strikeouts to just 11 walks over 137 first-half plate appearances. But with a strong finish to the season, which included hitting .342 with an .826 OPS in July and hitting .295 with a .733 OPS in August, he posted a .279 average and .755 OPS with 61 strikeouts and 33 walks in 236 plate appearances over the second half.

On the year, he hit .256 with a .694 OPS, 19 extra-base hits and 41 RBIs while striking out 27.9 percent of the time and walking 11.8 percent of the time.

2024 outlook: Quintana’s start to his career in the Nats system was delayed. After signing in July 2019, his 2020 season was lost due to the pandemic and then he was limited to just seven FCL games in 2021 due to multiple hamstring injuries.

But he showed his promise with a strong FCL campaign in 2022 and the strong finish to the 2023 season at Single-A.

At the plate, his above-average power should be one of his top tools that help him advance up the system. Like a lot of sluggers with plus power, Quintana was guilty of expanding his zone too much, which led to his high strikeout rate and low walk rate.

While his defense was actually pretty good during his first stint at first base, his offense was better when he was in the outfield. Like White, Quintana’s best chance at advancing through the Nats farm now is at first base. If he can continue to develop there and his bat can follow along, he has a shot at providing the Nats some decent depth.

Quintana is eligible for this year’s Rule 5 draft, so the Nationals would have to add him to the 40-man roster to protect him.

Source: Nats hiring Miguel Cairo as bench coach
Nationals announce 2024 home game times

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