What Is Considered A Quality Start In Baseball

Quality start – Wikipedia

Having a quality start for a starting pitcher in baseball is defined as a game in which the pitcher completes at least six innings while allowing no more than three earned runs. In 1985, while working as a sportswriter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, John Lowe came up with the concept of a great start. For purposes of this article, ESPN.com defines an unlucky loss as one that is too severe and a win won by a pitcher in an unlucky start as one that is too little. Baseball journalist and former BBWAA president Derrick Goold coined the phrase “High Quality Start” to refer to games in which a pitcher goes seven innings or more and allows three or less earned runs, which is referred to as “Quality Start Plus” by Nolan Ryan.

All-Time and Single-Season Leaders

Don Sutton† 483 282 98 0.742 1.71 164 58 3786.1 2728 832 718 201 812 2580 0.93 244 100
Nolan Ryan† 481 283 107 0.726 1.61 199 61 3805.1 2234 835 679 120 1683 4145 1.03 437 169
Greg Maddux† 480 291 88 0.768 1.75 104 34 3581.2 2763 827 698 157 599 2425 0.94 313 133
Roger Clemens 465 308 65 0.826 1.54 106 46 3514.2 2441 712 601 149 966 3378 0.97 268 144
Tom Seaver† 454 273 96 0.74 1.7 212 61 3697.1 2591 810 700 189 949 2842 0.96 268 123
Gaylord Perry† 453 279 102 0.732 1.63 271 53 3807.1 2855 868 688 165 854 2483 0.97 143 139
Steve Carlton† 447 288 100 0.742 1.67 228 55 3648 2669 833 676 171 1119 2899 1.04 184 151
Phil Niekro† 442 260 101 0.72 1.78 211 45 3554.1 2712 871 702 205 1016 2218 1.05 236 136
Tom Glavine† 436 263 66 0.799 1.88 54 25 3133 2461 757 653 167 876 1844 1.07 139 103
Tommy John 431 258 88 0.746 1.72 151 46 3374 2781 794 644 141 749 1597 1.05 136 111
Bert Blyleven† 429 251 99 0.717 1.73 205 60 3426.2 2648 797 660 176 824 2616 1.01 253 139

A member of the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, located in Cooperstown, New York, is indicated by the symbol ().

Single Season Quality Start Leaders

Jack Chesbro† 1904 44 38 6 0 0.864 1.36 44 43 6 398 270 87 60 4 74 214 0.86
Pete Alexander† 1916 40 33 7 0 0.825 1.11 40 38 16 356 273 60 44 3 39 154 0.88
Pete Alexander† 1915 39 29 7 3 0.806 1.12 39 33 11 346.2 224 72 43 3 57 223 0.81
Pete Alexander† 1917 39 30 8 1 0.789 1.32 39 32 8 347 282 76 51 3 46 183 0.95
Wilbur Wood 1971 37 21 10 6 0.677 1.46 37 22 7 307.1 233 70 50 17 56 193 0.94
Vic Willis† 1902 37 25 11 1 0.694 1.46 37 36 4 326.2 267 83 53 4 80 184 1.06
Rube Waddell† 1904 37 25 12 0 0.676 1.10 37 35 8 343.2 252 70 42 1 75 299 0.95
Cy Young† 1904 36 25 10 1 0.714 1.28 34 34 10 324.2 244 59 46 4 24 174 0.83
Sandy Koufax† 1966 36 27 6 3 0.818 1.35 36 27 5 307.1 215 53 46 18 65 308 0.91
Walter Johnson† 1915 36 25 11 0 0.694 1.28 36 33 7 309 230 67 44 0 51 180 0.91
Bob Feller† 1946 36 26 9 1 0.743 1.27 36 33 10 318.2 211 56 45 6 126 294 1.06

A member of the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, located in Cooperstown, New York, is indicated by the symbol (). As of the completion of the 2014 Major League Baseball(MLB) season, Greg Maddux held the record for the greatest percentage of “excellent starts” in a season in the live-ball era (post-1920), with 24 of them in 25 games in 1994, the most ever in the sport’s history. In 1985, Dwight Gooden went 33-for-35 on the field. From 1871 until the completion of the 2020 MLB season, the following players have been the overall leaders in % (minimum of 100 starts):

  1. Ernie Shore (84 of 121, 74.3 percent)
  2. Pete Schneider (109 of 157, 74.3 percent)
  3. Jacob deGrom (136 of 183, 74.3 percent)
  4. Clayton Kershaw (260 of 354, 73.4 percent)
  5. Jeff Tesreau (148 of 207, 71.5 percent)
  6. Babe Ruth (105 of 147, 71.4 percent)
  7. Tom Seaver (454 of 647, 70.2 percent)
  8. Chris Sale (162 of 232, 69.8 percent)
  9. Mel Stottlemyre (2


According to Moss Klein, writing in The Sporting News, one of the first criticisms of the statistic was that a pitcher might theoretically achieve the qualifications for a quality start while still recording a 4.50 earned run average, which is typically considered to be undesirable. The hypothetical example (a pitcher going exactly 6 innings and allowing exactly 3 runs) was addressed by Bill James in his 1987Baseball Abstract, who stated that such starts were extremely rare among starts recorded as quality starts, and that he doubted any pitchers had an ERA greater than 3.20 in their quality starts.

This was later confirmed by a computer analysis of all quality starts recorded from 1984 to 1991, which revealed that the average ERA in quality starts during that time period was 1.91.

Complete games

Another complaint leveled at the statistic is that it is not advantageous to pitchers who throw a large number of innings in a single start. If a pitcher allows three earned runs in six innings, he is considered to have had a quality start and has an ERA of 4.50 for that particular game in question. The same pitcher who throws nine innings and gives four earned runs would have a 4.00 earned run average, but would not be considered a strong starter. Carl Erskines, a former pitcher, shared his thoughts “During my playing days, a good start was considered a complete game.

Randy Johnson pitched a full game in June 1997, striking out 19 batters while allowing only four runs.

When Mike Scott took the mound in July 1982, he gave up seven hits and five walks in six innings while striking out no one.

He gave up seven runs, although only three of them were earned. A first-rate start. Gaylord Perry pitched 15 innings in April 1974, surrendering only four runs. This is not a good start.”

Possible new criteria

The considerations outlined above have led to speculation about the possibility of changing the criterion for a quality first start. One of the suggestions is that a starter is permitted to surrender one earned run for every two innings pitched, and as long as he throws five innings, he would be considered to have had a great start recorded against him. Randy Johnson and Gaylord Perry, who are mentioned in the preceding cases, would receive excellent starts based on this criterion. It would still be possible for a pitcher to have a 4.50 ERA and still earn a quality start under these criterion, but it would better represent a quality start.

An individual who goes at least eight innings and allows no more than one run, earned or unearned, would be considered to have had a Dominant Start.

Perry contends that this statistic would be more accurate in identifying which pitchers are genuinely the greatest in all of MLB.

According to this definition, a quality start would be four earned runs allowed in six innings in hitter-friendly Coors Field; but, six innings of three-run ball in a pitcher-friendly ballpark would not be deemed a quality start.


  1. ‘Neyer, Rob’ is a pseudonym (2006-04-13). “Quality starts are still a solid indicator of quality”, according to ESPN. Retrieved 2007-04-19 from “MLB Statistics Glossary” on ESPN.com. “The Quality of Life Begins, and its Discontents.” SBNation, published on May 20, 2013. Retrieved 2015-06-16
  2. “The Gibson: Reconsidering the “Quality Start” stat”
  3. “Player Pitching SeasonCareer Finder: Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, In the Regular Season, from 1871 to 2020, requiring Games Started= 100 and QS= 1, sorted by greatest QS percent “
  4. “The Gibson: Baseball for Statheads. retrieved on May 9th, 2021
  5. “Stats Sunday – The Beginning of Quality.” 19th of May, 2013
  6. Deane and Bill are two of the most well-known people in the world. Deane and Bill are the sons of William Deane, who was born in the town of Deane, in the town of Deane, in the town of Deane, in the town of Deane, in the town of Deane, in the town of Deane, in the town of Deane, in the town of Deane, in the town of Deane, in the town of Deane, in the town of Deane, in the town (2012). Baseball Myths: Debating, Debunking, and Disproving Stories from the Diamond is a book on baseball myths. ISBN9780810885462
  7. s^ David Smith’s name is Smith (Spring 1992). “The Quality Start is a Valuable Statistical Indicator.” Retrieved on 2010-08-08 from the original on 2011-07-04
  8. Archived from the original on 2011-07-04
  9. Fran Zimniuch is a writer who lives in the United States (2010). Baseball’s Closer: The Evolution of the Closer’s Position Triumph Books, Chicago, Illinois, p.74, ISBN 978-1-60078-312-8
  10. Joe Blogs: Everything You Never Wanted To Know About: Quality Begin

What is a Quality Start in Baseball – Why it’s on the Decline?

Getting a strong performance from a starting pitcher may benefit your club in a number of ways. First and foremost, a successful performance by your pitcher indicates that they offered your team the best possible chance to win the game. Second, a pitcher that relieves your bullpen arms of the burden of throwing implies that relievers will have more rest. So, in Major League Baseball, is there a term that can be used to quantify a successful outing for a pitcher in a single sentence? Answering that question is the importance of a high-quality start.

What is a Quality Start in Baseball?

Generally speaking, a solid start in baseball refers to a starting pitcher who tosses at least six innings and allows no more than three runs in their performance. The statistic is a useful tool for identifying which pitchers put in strong performances, which is useful for organizations and fantasy baseball owners. In contrast, having a great start does not guarantee that you will win the game in question. Perhaps the game is tied when you depart after the six-run inning, or perhaps your side has not scored any runs after you have given up one run, and you lose the game by a score of 1-0.

Who Coined the Phrase?

The word “excellent start” was coined by John Lowe, a journalist with the Philadelphia Inquirer who wrote for the publication in 1985. As time has passed, organizations and players have expanded the meaning of that word to include a variety of circumstances. To offer an example, Nolan Ryan refers to a pitcher who throws seven innings and allows no more than three runs as having a “High-Quality Start.” Another word you may hear from radio and television broadcasters is a difficult defeat, which refers to a pitcher who lost the game despite making a strong start.

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How is a Quality Start Different from a Complete Game?

A quality start differs from a complete game in terms of the number of innings pitched, yet a person can theoretically attain both marks. The minimum requirement for a quality start is at least six innings and the pitcher must allow no more than four runs. However, a pitcher might go all nine innings and still allow no more than four runs. If a pitcher can go full nine innings with allowing no more than four runs, he or she is considered to have had a great start and completed game.

Who are the All-Time Quality Start Leaders

When it comes to measuring a pitcher’s performance throughout the regular season, clubs and organizations rely on the quality start statistic. The quality start statistic, like the WHIP in baseball, contributes to the telling of a whole tale. Instead of a pitcher receiving “cheap victories” for consistently pitching five innings and having a club that scores a lot of runs, the quality start stat demonstrates that they also completed their jobs.

  1. Don Sutton (483 points), Nolan Ryan (481 points), Greg Maddux (480 points), Roger Clemens (465 points), Tom Seaver (454 points), Gaylord Perry (453 points), Steve Carlton (447 points), Phil Niekro (442 points), Tom Glavine (436 points), Tommy John (431 points).

A Change in Pitching in Recent Years

Statistical analysis and mathematical models now guide the majority of decision-making in both Minor League and Major League Baseball operations. Teams manage the game in a dramatically different way as a result of the use of statistics and forecasts. For a variety of reasons, teams are increasingly removing pitchers from games earlier in the game. First and foremost, statistics suggests that baseball players who meet the same beginning pitcher on their third visit have a higher average and opportunistic batting average.

  1. Third, during baseball games, teams like to get quality outs rather than extensive outings in order to win.
  2. Finally, because of the financial investment made in their starting pitchers, organizations do not want their starters to be injured, thus they rest them to avoid injury.
  3. Fantrax HQ provides a graphic that depicts a declining trend in the number of innings pitched each game and the number of pitches thrown per game.
  4. As a result of this pattern, it is reasonable to predict that the league average number of innings pitched will continue to decline year after year.

Is the Quality Start Stat Over-Rated Now?

Because of the graph above from FanTrax HQ indicating the drop in innings pitched, you might be wondering if the quality start statistic is overstated. The answer to that question is that data can be used to guide a plan, but they are not required to constitute the overarching narrative. Teams can use a variety of statistics, like as strikeouts, walks, WHIP, wins, earned run average, losses, and more, to determine how good a pitcher is for their team in certain situations. Take the Tampa Bay Rays, for example, as an example of a team that is transforming the pitching landscape.

Over time, more and more groups began to adopt a similar method that included the use of an opener. As seen by the data, winning at-bats early in the game may lead to more victories, and as a result, teams are employing the opener frequently.

Conclusion on the Quality Start Metric

Several indicators may be used by teams to determine how good a pitcher is, and one of the most important is how well he starts. For example, there are brilliant pitchers on terrible teams who don’t achieve enough victories for their efforts. If an owner just considers a pitcher’s win-to-loss ratio, he or she may pass on that pitcher during free agency. There may be a team, on the other hand, that use analytics to identify hidden potential. Perhaps a team considers quality start to be the most essential measure, and as a result, they will prioritize it throughout the summer.

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Is a “Quality Start” the Most Overrated Stat in Baseball?

Photograph courtesy of Justin Sullivan/Getty Images When John Lowe, a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, came up with the concept of the excellent start in 1985, it was revolutionary. Generally speaking, a quality start is defined as one in which the starting pitcher pitches six complete innings and allows no more than three earned runs. In comparison to a win-loss record, this statistic does not punish a pitcher who is facing a lack of run support in the same manner that a win-loss record does.

  1. There is an issue with this statistic in that it shows a 4.50 earned run average after six innings thrown and three earned runs.
  2. Giving up four and a half runs per game is not particularly outstanding when you consider that the vast majority of teams (63 percent) score more than 4.5 runs per game.
  3. In the case of a pitcher who pitches six innings and allows three runs, the pitcher receives a quality start with an ERA of 4.50.
  4. Which start would you want your pitcher to take the mound for?
  5. Alternatively, how about the entire game with four earned runs?
  6. Which of the following is actually a “excellent start”?
  7. After all, why should a pitcher get compensated for a start in which he enabled the opposition lineup to continue doing what they have been doing all season?

For example, a team might be held to a run average below their own. Giving up a run every other inning, which is the case when you throw six innings and allow three runs, does not strike me as particularly “quality.”

What Is a Quality Start in Baseball? A Stat that Measures…

In baseball, when a pitcher takes the mound, the aim is to earn the most outs while simultaneously allowing the fewest number of runs feasible during the course of the game’s first five innings. It’s understandable that this appears to be a straightforward and ambiguous aim, and on the surface, it appears to be such. As a result, someone devised a statistic to represent this: the quality start statistic. So, what exactly constitutes a quality start in the sport of baseball? A quality start is earned by a starting pitcher who pitches six innings or more while allowing no more than three earned runs.

The quality start statistic, which assigns two standards that are simple to identify and comprehend, assists in determining whether starting pitchers are performing effectively in their respective roles.

What Is a Quality Start and How Often do They Occur?

As previously stated, a quality start is an unofficial method of determining the quality of a starting pitcher’s performance by evaluating both how far he goes into a game and how effectively he performs during the time he is in the game. How often does this occur and what exactly are the criteria are the subjects of discussion. As previously stated, a quality start is defined as a starting pitcher who pitches at least six innings while allowing no more than three earned runs in total. This definition does not include runs that were not earned.

  1. This means that in a typical two-starter game (which is obviously the case), a little more than two out of every three games will feature one pitcher who makes a strong start, while there are plenty of games in which both pitchers meet that standard.
  2. Before 1920, there was less offensive production and pitchers were more often than not to throw a complete game.
  3. Since the introduction of the contemporary “live” ball in 1920, quality start rates have consistently been less than 50% for about a quarter century in the United States.
  4. Beginning in the 1980s, quality start rates steadily declined, lingering around 50%, then decreasing again in the early 2000s, rising again in the early 2010s, and finally reaching a new high in 2014, when the quality start rate set a new record.

The greatest quality start rate in the last century happened in 1968, a low-scoring year known as the “Year of the Pitcher,” when 62.6 percent of starts resulted in a quality start, the lowest percentage in the previous century.

How Important Are Quality Starts?

Given that the entire concept of a quality start is predicated on gauging how well a starting pitcher throws and how long he stays on the mound, it would seem that clubs would benefit from having more pitchers provide a quality start. To some extent, it is accurate, but it is not a failsafe formula by any means. In the Wild Card Era (which has been in effect since 1995), teams with high-quality start leaders are more likely to be successful and to reach the postseason. However, only one club (the 2016 Chicago Cubs) has led the league in quality starts and gone on to win the World Series during that time frame.

  • There are a couple of possible explanations.
  • Because of this, the outcomes of a five- or seven-game series frequently do not accurately represent how excellent a club was over the course of 162 games.
  • That’s one possible reason.
  • A club with a bad bullpen will likely be more willing to keep starters in the game for longer periods of time, but a team with a weak offense may be less motivated to keep starters in the game for longer periods of time since games will likely be tighter with fewer runs scored.

Therefore, one significant problem in the statistic is that a pitcher who allows three earned runs or fewer in 6.0 innings is considered a strong start, however a pitcher who allows zero runs during 5 2/3 innings is not, even if the pitcher who pitched for a shorter amount of time performed better.

Due to the usage of “openers,” who begin games but are only intended to pitch one or two innings before being relieved by a more conventional starter, the Rays regularly had games in which a solid start was not feasible by design, since “starting” pitchers were only expected to have brief stints.

This was the fewest number of quality starts in Major League Baseball history and the fourth-fewest overall in a non-shortened season.

This was mostly due to their powerful (and frequently deployed) bullpen.

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Because of these injustices, some people, such as the analytically-inclined team at FanGraphs, have decided to abandon the quality start completely, or at the very least to rethink it.

We don’t know what the solution will be in this case. In the meanwhile, the phrase is here to stay, and even though the criterion for determining quality leaves something to be desired, there is nothing wrong with a high level of excellence.

Odds and Ends Regarding Quality Starts

  • Given that the entire concept of a great start is built on evaluating how effectively a starting pitcher throws and how long he stays on the mound, it would seem that clubs would benefit from having more pitchers make a quality start. Yes, it is right to some extent, but it is not a failsafe formula. Quality start leaders, as a group, have often been successful and have appeared in the postseason throughout the Wild Card Era (which has existed since 1995). To date, only one club (the 2016 Chicago Cubs) has led the league in quality starts while also winning the World Series throughout that time period. The reason behind this is as follows: There are a couple of reasons behind this. For starters, as the iconic phrase from Brad Pitt’s character inMoneyball states, “the playoffs are a crapshoot. Because of this, the outcomes of a five- or seven-game series frequently do not represent how excellent a club was throughout the course of 162 games. Taking a look back, 20 of the 26 quality start statistics league leaders between 1995 and 2019 (including one year where two teams tied for first place) were in the postseason, but only three of those teams advanced to the World Series, with the Cubs winning the World Series in 2016. One possible reason is as follows: Furthermore, the quality start statistic does not take into consideration a team’s offensive or bullpen performance, despite the fact that these elements can have an impact on how pitchers are utilized. As mentioned above, teams with a weak bullpen will almost certainly push their starting pitchers to the end of games. Teams with a weak offense will almost certainly not let their starting pitchers go as far as they would like because games will be tighter with fewer runs scored, according to the scouting report. They have the greatest impact on pitchers who are trying to accumulate the six innings necessary for a solid start.— Therefore, one significant problem in the statistic is that a pitcher who allows three earned runs or fewer in 6.0 innings is considered a quality start, however a pitcher who allows zero runs during 5 2/3 innings is not, even if the pitcher who worked for a shorter amount of time was more effective. The pitching method employed by the Tampa Bay Rays over the past few seasons is a great illustration of this. With “openers,” who start games but are only intended to pitch one or two innings before being relieved by a more traditional starter, the Rays regularly had games where excellent starts were not feasible by design, as “opening” pitchers were only expected to pitch brief stints. As a result, the Rays recorded a quality start in only 39 games in 2018, the first complete season in which openers were used. This was the fewest number of quality starts in Major League Baseball history and the fourth-fewest in the history of the game in a regular season. Despite this, Tampa Bay finished with the second-best ERA in the American League and went 90-72, just missing out on the postseason. This was mostly due to their powerful (and frequently deployed) bullpen. Similarly, in the same season, the New York Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates tied for fourth place in the entire Major League Baseball, each recording 80 quality starts as a team, despite the fact that neither club qualified for the postseason due to mediocre offenses and mediocre bullpens. Because of these injustices, some people, such as the analytically-inclined team at FanGraphs, have decided to abandon the quality start completely, or at the very least to modify the process. We have no idea what the remedy may be. Nonetheless, the phrase is here to stay, and while the criterion for determining quality leaves something to be desired, there is nothing wrong with high standards.

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How were the parameters for a “quality” start defined?

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Submitted by Paul Harvey – The Final Word on Baseball The tracking of quality starts has been standard practice in grading pitchers since John Lowe first coined the phrase back in 1985. When a starting pitcher pitches six or more innings while allowing three or less earned runs, he is considered to have had a solid start. However, it is debatable if three earned runs allowed per start is indicative of a high-caliber pitcher in this situation. Several factors influence whether or not a pitcher had a quality performance, and the number of innings worked plus the number of earned runs allowed is just a minor fraction of the equation.

Definition of Quality

Quality, according to Merriam-Webster, is defined as “a degree of perfection; superiority in type.” According to this notion, a quality start does not equate to a quality performance in the end. A pitcher who has a quality start in each of his starts will eventually have an ERA of 4.50 or below. Most baseball fans will immediately see that an earned run average of 4.50 is not good, but here are the stats to prove it. According to Fangraphs, of the 73 qualifying starting pitchers that competed in 2016, 55 had an earned run average (ERA) less than 4.50 in 2016.

  1. When such a vast number of pitchers attain a 4.50 ERA, it is impossible to consider them to be of high quality.
  2. In comparison, the best 25 percent of pitchers had an ERA equal to or less than 3.21, which was considered to be excellent.
  3. It is more true to say that a quality start is defined as six innings thrown with no more than two earned runs allowed in each of the 30 starts (64 runs divided by 30 starts equals a little over two runs each game).
  4. There are some qualifying pitchers who do not reach 180 innings pitched, and there are some qualified pitchers who do not make it through six innings on a continuous basis.

League Average

It is vital to create a baseline in order to evaluate pitchers in the future. After all, it has been well established that the pace at which runs are allowed has varied throughout the history of baseball, including the present day. The 1.56 earned run average that Greg Maddux produced in 1994 appears to be a far cry from the 1.77 earned run average that Clayton Kershaw recorded in 2014. Both of these figures are really amazing, but they require context in order to be fully comprehended in their entirety.

In order to evaluate what constitutes a quality performance, it is necessary to establish the league average performance.

It becomes more and more obvious that a quality start that results in a 4.50 ERA is not actually a great start in the long run.

This does not exclude out the use of the phrase “excellent start” in some circumstances.

In 2000, the average earned run average (ERA) for the whole league was 4.77. A 4.50 earned run average would have been above-average, and a “quality start” would have been a real representation of high-level pitching performance.

The Quality Start is not a Quality Stat

The basic line is that the quality start metric is no longer relevant. It is too black-and-white to be utilized in conjunction with other statistics that are continually shifting in nature. Some aspects of Bill James’ Game Scorestat are excellent; yet, there are some places where it falls short. There is no ideal metric, and there is no one measure of a baseball player’s success. The evaluation of quality starts serves as a useful reminder of this. Several other data are required to evaluate an individual’s performance, and a good start does not necessarily translate into an excellent performance.

What is a Quality Start?

Answers to Baseball Questions: What Is a Good Start? Baseball handicapper Loot, of Lootmeister.com, provides his thoughts on the game. This is a word that has been the subject of heated dispute among baseball fans for many years. The phrase “quality start” (QS) is designed to conjure up images of pitchers who have had a good start. A pitcher’s degree of success, which is frequently defined by whether he wins or loses, is said to be based on factors outside of his or her control, such as the defense of his or her team or the amount of runs they score on the board.

  • Quality starts are defined as those in which a starting pitcher tosses at least 6 full innings while allowing no more than 3 earned runs in that time frame.
  • A 4.50 earned run average is dubious to varied degrees depending on the period.
  • The fact that you had an ERA that high throughout previous, less offensive periods of the game is just questionable.
  • The probability of a pitcher pitching exactly 6 innings while allowing exactly 3 runs is actually relatively tiny when compared to the other scenarios in which a pitcher has a strong start.
  • The fact that it is not a perfect statistic may be demonstrated by a large number of individual cases.
  • When all quality starts are included across time, the ERA is significantly lower than 4.50.
  • A quality start will be awarded to a pitcher who pitches six innings and allows three runs or less in the process.

Even though Gaylord Perry only pitched 15 innings and allowed four runs, he does not qualify as a quality start, a compelling argument can be made that he out-pitched a competitor who only pitched six innings and allowed three runs.

ATBOVADA SPORTSBOOK is a sports betting website.

Afterwards, you have all the old timers who claim that if they had satisfied the bare minimal standards for a great start every time they pitched in their prime, they would not have made it through their first two seasons in the majors.

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The pitchers who lead the league in quality starts, or who have the largest proportion of quality starts in relation to the total number of games they have started, are, in fact, outstanding pitchers.

Some of the greatest pitchers in history, like Tom Seaver, Bob Gibson, and Randy Johnson, are among those who rank among the top ten all-time in terms of percentage of lifetime quality starts.

In 1968, Bob Gibson finished 32nd out of 34.

Some statistics in baseball are bound to spark a great deal of discussion.

Determining quality beginnings is more of an interpretative statistic that is subject to human judgment rather than simply looking at the data in isolation.

Then there are numbers like as victories, saves, and quality starts, which are a little more contentious since they are judged against a set of standards that may have limits and fail to represent the core of what is being attempted.

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I understand that most of you are here because you enjoy fantasy baseball, but make no mistake about it: fantasy baseball is not for everyone. Fantasy baseball is a source of suffering. One of the league’s numerous annoyances derives from the categories that they chose to include in their scoring. When it comes to pitching, one of the most popular debates is between getting a victory and getting a good start. However, while I have become a proponent of the latter, it is not without its drawbacks.

  1. Now let’s go back to the middle of April 2018 and look through everything that went wrong and everything that went right with quality starting.
  2. Pitcher Luis Castillo of the BrewingReds entered the game in the eighth inning with a 9-0 advantage and a pitch count in the mid-to-high nineties.
  3. To begin the inning, Travis Shawflied out to left field, and Castillo seemed like he was on his way to capping off his stint with a flourish.
  4. And then Jose Lopez, a bullpen pitcher, hit a double to right-center field, bringing the score to 2-0.
  5. His final stats were as follows: 6.2 innings thrown, four earned runs.
  6. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, a quality start is defined as an outing in which the starting pitcher allows no more than three runs in six or more innings pitched.
  7. It has become a pretty popular measure in fantasy baseball since ita) neutralizes run support andb) reduces the impact of terrible bullpens entering the game and damaging the team’s chances of winning the game.

There are no Jacob DeGrom owners in the home, according to the deGrom deBacle.

His 1.70 earned run average led the National League in 2018.

He won the National League Cy Young Award in 2018.


Can you justify making the league’s best pitcher a fantasy liability in one area only because Kevin Plawecki can’t put up big numbers at the plate?

Only one pitcher (Blake Snell) had more victories than quality starts last season among the top 25 pitchers in the league in terms of quality starts.

In many instances, the relationship between the two variables is not strong. Here’s a look at a group of starters who each had at least 20 excellent starts in 2018:

  • Clayton Kershaw has nine victories, Trevor Bauer has twelve victories, German Marquez has fourteen victories, and Jameson Taillon has fourteen victories.

Using a less extreme example, an owner of a Marquez or Taillon horse got a notch in the quality starts category six more times throughout the course of a season than they would have otherwise received if they had just counted victories. When using a quality start structure, a Kershaw owner would have gained an additional 11 tallies in the most severe scenario. Those figures may not appear to be particularly significant, yet they have a notable impact on the worth of a pitcher. The pursuit of victories benefits poor pitchers such as the controversial 2016 Cy Young Award winnerRick Porcello, who, while being backed by top offenses, manages to accumulate victories despite having less-than-stellar strikeout-to-walk ratios.

  1. Those aren’t the kind of men who should be regarded the best in their respective fields.
  2. Quality begins at the beginning and continues throughout the process!
  3. Not so fast, my friend.
  4. A weird aversion to the quality start was also discovered in him, which illustrates the rather arbitrary character of the statistic.
  5. Nine times in a row.
  6. There are a total of niiiine times.
  7. Rodriguez pitched 5.2 innings against the Chicago White Sox on September 1, allowing three hits and one run while striking out 12.

No, there is no doubt about that.

A pitcher could potentially make every appearance and throw precisely six innings, allowing exactly three runs every outing, and conclude the season with a perfect quality start %.

Rodriguez’s season also exemplifies the impact that a quality starts league has on the value of players with a high strikeout rate in the league.

The high-strikeout man is moving the ball in and out of the zone in an attempt to create swings and misses, whereas contact men are seeking for the ball to be struck.

Chicken Dinner goes to the victor.

I despise my victory. If you haven’t picked up on my personal slant yet, then I applaud you for your dedication to impartial journalism! However, the unpleasant reality is that in a single season, when actual results on the field are taken into consideration, the victory does have some significance.

ERA Final Ranking (2014-2018) Avgof Wins Highest Win Total Lowest Win Total
Top 10 16.2 22 (Arrieta, 2015) 9 (Hamels, 2014)
11-20 14 22 (Porcello, 2016) 6 (S. Miller, 2015)
21-30 12.3 19 (Severino, 2018) 7 (twice)

The top ten starting pitchers in the ERA rankings have averaged around two more wins each season over the last five seasons than the next ten, with a similar spread between that group and the next ten over the same period. As a result, there is a strong link between on-field outcomes and overall victory total, but there is also a lot of variation. The vast variety of victory totals in each category can be seen on the right-hand side of the above graphic. It appears that pitchers with lower earned run averages should win more games, but this is not always the case, according to the data.

  • Of the 50 qualified pitchers, 19 had a record of less than 15 wins, while six had a record that was exactly the same as the number.
  • The same group had an average of 22 quality starts every season, according to the data.
  • The Final Result My memory of the Castillo game is etched in my mind since I have lobbied for a quality start in the majority of the leagues in which I participate.
  • At the end of the day, the decision is yours (or your league’s).
  • When it comes to winning, there is more tension and, thus, more aggravation tied to the victory, but for some fantasy baseball owners, this is all part of the enjoyment.
  • It’s a measure that’s better suited for the faint of heart, or, to put it another way, those who want the outcome of their pitcher’s performance to be more or less settled when they’re pulled.
  • Alternatively, don’t.
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Smoothing out the quality start boundary

In the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday night, the TBS crew used strong starts to demonstrate Jon Lester’s importance to the Athletics in the latter stages of the season. Since June 12, Lester has tossed 27 excellent starts in 32 regular-season outings this season, including 19 consecutive starts dating back to the beginning of the season. Of course, there is some area for criticism in the concept of a high-quality start: For a pitcher to be considered for a quality start, as Ron Darling pointed out on the broadcast, he simply needs to finish six innings and allow no more than three earned runs to be considered.

  • Furthermore, unearned runs, which do not influence a pitcher’s ERA (or quality start determination), but are nevertheless runs, are not taken into consideration.
  • This sparked a fascinating debate on Tom Tango’s website, which is worth reading.
  • It’s a word that doesn’t lend itself to being defined in any way that we want it to be defined.
  • Without changing the name, there are various options for dealing with this issue.
  • My proposal was that the QS border be redrawn because the beginnings on the QS boundary aren’t actually of high quality.
  • The proportion of participants who deemed each combination to be “excellent” is depicted in the chart below, with green checkmarks representing percentages of at least 50%.
  • As a result, only full numbers of innings were included in the initial vote because include fractional IP values would have made the question far too lengthy.
  • We’ve included a 3-D surface graphic of the interpolated findings in the next section.
  • I went with a simple majority (50 percent), but you could also go with a two-thirds or three-quarters majority if you desired.
  • As a result of the revised definition, starting pitchers who go further into games will be more forgiving, as will starting pitchers who don’t go as far but keep runs off the board.

First, let’s look at the winners: From 2010 to 2013, these starters received the most number of QS using the revised criteria. Several bullpen-saving efforts are included in this set, but the majority of the additional QS are shorter starts with fewer runs allowed.

Name QS People’s QS Diff
Tommy Hanson 46 57 11
Jeanmar Gomez 13 23 10
A.J. Burnett 62 70 8
Jonathan Sanchez 22 30 8
Lucas Harrell 23 31 8

Most starters will gain at least one QS as a result of this revised definition, while a handful will suffer as a result of it. These pitchers suffered the greatest amount of QS losses, while delivering the greatest number of 6 IP/3 ER games.

Name QS People’s QS Diff
Wandy Rodriguez 71 61 -10
Roberto Hernandez 48 41 -7
Bronson Arroyo 77 70 -7
Ricky Romero 59 53 -6
Ten tied with -5

It is not very useful since it is more sophisticated than the simple QS definition because of the formula, but it is less useful than statistics such as game score because of the binary categorization. A more smoothed out border, on the other hand, might result in fewer debates over whether a particular quality start is truly good enough. Unless otherwise stated, all statistics are courtesy of Retrosheet and Baseball-Reference. Thank you so much to all of the readers of Tom Tango’s blog who took the time to vote in the poll.


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