Cal Quantrill, SP, Cleveland Indians
Like Rosario, Cal Quantrill checks the box for year-to-year improvement as well as in-season improvement when considering Cleveland’s most improved player of the 2021 season.
Spending most of the 2020 season in the bullpen, we’re going to jump back to the 2019 season for Quantrill’s year-to-year comparison. That was the last time that he served as a starter and it didn’t go as planned for the former eighth overall pick.
Starting 18 games over 23 appearances for San Diego in 2019, Quantrill posted a 6-8 record while watching his ERA rise to a mark of 5.16. He averaged just 7.9 strikeouts per nine innings and allowed two runs or more in 14 of his 18 starts.
A move to the bullpen seemed to alleviate some of Quantrill’s struggles, but when injuries hit the Tribe they called him back into the rotation. The start was a bit rocky, but since the beginning of July, when Quantrill was able to settle into the rotation with a high pitch count, he’s been arguably one of the best starters in the American League.
Over that span, Quantrill has made 13 starts, maintaining an ERA of 2.36 and allowing opposing batters a batting average of just .209 while tallying 67 strikeouts. For anyone who saw his first few outings as a starter, that was massive improvement not just over his 2019 campaign, but over his first handful of starts in 2021.