Humberto Quintero is the longest tenured position player on the Houston Astros roster. “Q” was acquired from the Padres prior to the 2005 season in exchange for pitcher Tim Redding. After being shuttled between Houston and the minor leagues for years Quintero has finally established himself as a defensive standout behind the plate. His bat hasn’t been great, but it’s been good enough to keep him on the big club for the last three seasons.
Contrary to rumors concocted by John Heyman, Quintero should serve as the primary back-up for catcher Jason Castro in 2012. While Castro continues to battle problems with injuries, “Q” will get plenty of playing time. Castro probably won’t be ready for opening day due to off-season foot surgery. Quintero also battled injuries last season, missing more than a month due to a high ankle sprain suffered in a collision at the plate.
When healthy, Quintero has been a consistent performer for the Astros. But staying healthy has been a challenge for the catcher. He is definitely among the league leaders in being hit in the head by bats on players’ follow throughs.
Quintero is the team’s most experienced backstop and his familiarity with the young pitchers is a valuable asset. Last season Quintero threw out 23% of runners attempting to steal. Quintero threw out at least 35% of potential base stealers in each of the five previous seasons. Although 23% is respectable, we have come to expect more from Quintero. He also loves to throw behind runners and has a knack for the pick-off.
We pretty much know what to expect from Quintero. Maybe the veteran can have an above average season and provide a little more offense than we are accustomed to. I have a feeling we’re going to need it.