NEW YORK—Three years ago the Yankees signed Jose Quintana, who had been released by the Mets, because he threw lefthanded and because he was still a teenager. Teams provide second chances to players who fit that description all the time.
Today, Quintana is nearing the end of a strong season for high Class A Tampa that will vault him to Double-A next year.
"We gave him a second opportunity," farm director Mark Newman said.
The Mets released Quintana, a native of Colombia, in July 2007 after he spent the season on the restricted list. He had appeared in just three Rookie-level Venezuelan Summer League games the previous season.
The Yankees inked the 19-year-old Quintana in March 2008, and he spent two full seasons in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League before pitching in the U.S.
He made his stateside debut as a reliever in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2010, earning an August audition with low Class A Charleston that included three starts. In all, Quintana struck out 44 in 39 innings and finished with a 1.11 WHIP.
"Pat McMahon, who leads our Latin America player development, had him in the program and he liked him," Newman said. "He kept telling us there was more there."
Quintana has proven McMahon correct. The 22-year-old was 8-2, 2.86 at Tampa, with 78 strikeouts and 26 walks in 85 innings. Opponents were batting .213 against him with four home runs.
"He is a lefthander who throws strikes with his curveball and changeup," Newman said. "And his fastball is 89-91 (mph). There is some deception and a lot of swings and misses."
The Yankees want to see Quintana duplicate the success next season at Trenton.
"Next year is a big test," Newman said. "If he continues to do what he did in the Florida State League at Double-A, (then) his prospect status will be enhanced."
• The Yankees have hinted that Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre lefty Manny Banuelos will get a September callup to serve as a reliever. Through 22 starts (all but two for Trenton) he was 4-5, 3.47 with 107 strikeouts in 106 innings.
• Short-season Staten Island center fielder Mason Williams made the New York-Penn League all-star team. He batted .359/.404/.492 though 195 at-bats and led the league in batting and hits (70) while ranking second with 18 stolen bases.