- Full name Humberto Jose Quintero
- Born 08/02/1979 in Maracaibo, Venezuela
- Profile Ht.: 5'10" / Wt.: 215 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Andres Bello
- Debut 09/03/2003
Organization Prospect Rankings
Quintero has hit .305 over the past two seasons in the minors to establish himself as more than just a defensive specialist. Quintero's contact-focused approach allows him to hit for a high average, though he offers little in the way of power, plate discipline or speed. Quintero's glovework alone should guarantee him a major league career. He has the ability to shut down the running game with a plus-plus arm and excels at blocking pitches in the dirt. Quintero needs to add an element to his offensive game to project as more than a backup. Bulking up would not only possibly give him more power, but it would also allow him to better withstand the grind of a full season behind the plate. Quintero will enter 2005 as the favorite to earn the backup job behind Ramon Hernandez in San Diego.
Quintero was the organization's most improved player in 2003. He entered the year with little indication that he'd ever hit much. But after they acquired him in a July 2002 trade with the White Sox, the Padres got Quintero to abandon a dead-pull approach and try to use the whole field. He hit .309 in the final month of 2002, a prelude to the best year of his career. He focused on making contact and succeeded, showing gap power if not drawing many walks. Quintero doesn't have a pretty swing and never will be an offensive force, but now looks like he'll hit enough to at least be a big league backup. He long has had a reputation of having one of the best arms in the game, drawing comparisons to Pudge Rodriguez. Quintero is the best defensive catcher in the system, and he threw out 39 percent of basestealers last year in the Southern League. He sometimes loses his concentration as a receiver, but he has improved in that area as well as leadership. More troubling are rumors the last two years that Quintero has tipped pitches to Venezuelan hitters on other teams in exchange for getting the same information from them. The Padres investigated the situation and say they've found nothing. With San Diego trading for Ramon Hernandez, Quintero will get a full year in Triple-A. If he continues to hit, he'll back Hernandez up in 2005.
Few catchers get the ball to second as quickly as Quintero. He possesses both a cannon for an arm and quick feet, allowing him to consistently get the ball to the bag in 1.8 seconds. That's Pudge Rodriguez territory. Quintero threw out 49 percent of runners last season between the South Atlantic League, where he was a midseason all-star, and the Carolina League. But his bat continues to lag far behind his defensive skills. He's likely to be promoted to Double-A in 2002 but has not yet shown he can hit even high Class A pitching. Quintero can make contact but rarely drives the ball or draws a walk. The White Sox hope he'll be a late-blooming hitter as he gets stronger. He played in his native Venezuela this winter, which could help him make the jump to Birmingham.
Minor League Top Prospects
Quintero beat out the youngest of the Molina brothers, Tennessee's Yadier, as the consensus best defensive catcher in the league. He threw out 39 percent of opposing basestealers, and his plus arm strength and his willingness to make pickoff throws to any base kept runners honest. The former White Sox farmhand also had his best offensive season. A career .250 hitter entering the year, he finished seventh in the SL batting race. No one projects power in Quintero's swing, however, as his three homers were a career best, as were his 26 doubles. If he continues his offensive progress, he could be more than just a backup catcher. "He can play," an NL scout said. "He had the best arm in the league, and he makes consistent contact at the plate and has a decent swing. He's just a singles hitter, but he's so good defensively. I think he'll hit enough to be a starter in the big leagues."
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Defensive Catcher in the San Diego Padres in 2005
- Rated Best Defensive Catcher in the Carolina League in 2002