Paul John Quantrill | RP,SP | 1996-2001
Paul Quantrill was born November 3, 1968, in Kingsville, Ontario. A good Canadian boy. He was a 26th round draft pick in the 1986 draft. But then he didn’t sign with the Dodgers. Paul chose the University of Wisconsin instead. After three years there and a Top Pitcher and Team MVP award in 1989, the Red Sox drafted him in the 6th round of the 1989 draft. Mike Mordecai and Doug Mirabelli came out of that round as well.
Quantrill quickly moved through the minors and made his Red Sox debut July 20, 1992. In May 1994, they traded him to the Phillies, where he played for the rest of that season and 1995. On December 6, 1995, Gord Ash made, likely, the best trade of his time as Jay GM sending Howard Battle and Ricardo Jordan to get Quantrill.
His first year with us, he started the season as a starter, making 16 starts in his first 17 appearances, at which point he was 4-9 with a 6.20 ERA. Those numbers either get you sent to the minors or the pen. Paul got the better option. By the end of the season, we were well out of the race, and he finished the season in the rotation making 4 starts when Juan Guzman went on the DL after an appendectomy. He had an awful season. In 134.2 innings, Paul gave up 172 hits and an impressive 27 home runs. He walked 51 and struck out 86 to finish 5 and 14 with a 5.43 ERA.
In 1997 he was moved to the pen full time. Rubber armed, he pitched in 77 games (a record at the time for a Canadian pitcher), having one of the best seasons for a Jay set up man finishing with a 1.94 ERA (4th in the AL among relievers) and a 6-7 record with 5 saves. He gave up 103 hits in 88 innings but only walked 17 and 5 homers. Fangraphs has this as his best season, as a Jay, giving him a 2.0 WAR.
In 98 he made even more appearances (82) and had another great season with a 2.59 ERA and 7 saves and tied for the league lead in holds with 27. He had a reverse split that season, holding lefties to a .258 average while righties hit .305 off him. But despite the high batting average hit against him, he was an effective pitcher because he limited walks, allowing just 22, 6 of them intentional.
He missed the start of the 1999 season because of a broken leg suffered in the offseason in a snowmobile accident. He’s a true Canadian. He didn’t pitch for the Jays until June 15. He did still manage to get into 41 games. He had an off-year in 2000, finishing with a 4.52 ERA in 68 games.
He made the All-Star team in 2001, leading the league in wins in relief with 11 and appearances with 80. He allowed only 5 unintentional walks in his 83 innings. He ended with a 3.04 ERA. After the season, JP traded him and Cesar Izturis to the Dodgers for Luke Prokopec and Chad Ricketts. It wasn’t one of JP’s better trades.
Over the next three years, 2 with the Dodgers and one with the Yankees, he pitched in 86, 89, and 86 games. He made the playoffs in 2004 with the Yankees pitching in 4 games of the Red Sox come back, 7 game ALCS win over the Yankees. He took the loss in the 12th inning of game 4, the start of the Red Sox historic come back, giving up David Ortiz’s walk-off home run. All the pitching finally caught up to him in 2005, and the Yankees sent him to San Diego. After a couple of months, the Padres released him, and he signed with the Marlins to finish the season.
Quantrill pitched for Canada in the 2006 World Baseball Classic and retired after that. In a 14 year career, he pitched in 841 games, the most games of any Canadian pitcher, and had a 3.83 ERA. A skinny right-hander Paul threw a sinking fastball, a slider, change, and curve. The sinker was his best pitch causing batters to pound the ball into the ground. Consistent and extremely durable, Quantrill earns a spot on our list and was one of the best relievers in team history.
In 6 seasons as a Blue Jays, Quantrill has a 30-34 record with 15 saves, a 3.67 ERA in 386 games, 20 of them starts.
Career, he pitched 14 seasons with a 3.83 ERA in 841 games, 1255 innings. He led the league in games pitched 4 times.
In 2010 Paul was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.
Paul is married and has three children. His son Cal plays for Cleveland. And no that doesn’t make me feel old at all.
Paul Quantrill’s place among Jay pitching leaders:
Pitching bWAR: 13th
ERA (> 500 innings): 7th 3.67
Wins: 29th 30
Walks/9 innings (>500 innings):7th 2.50
Games: 6th 386
Innings: 33rd 517.2
Strikeouts: 36th 334
Strikeout to Walk Ratio (>500): 15th 2.32