Quality Start
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Quality Start

In baseball, a quality start is a statistic for a starting pitcher defined as a game in which the pitcher completes at least six innings and permits no more than three earned runs.

The quality start was developed by sportswriter John Lowe in 1985 while writing for the Philadelphia Inquirer.[1]ESPN.com terms a loss suffered by a pitcher in a quality start as a tough loss and a win earned by a pitcher in a non-quality start a cheap win.[2]

Nolan Ryan has used the term "High Quality Start" for games where the pitcher goes seven innings or more and allows three earned runs or fewer.[3]

All-Time and Single-Season Leaders

All-time Career Quality Start Leaders

Player QS W L W-L% ERA GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP SB CS
Don Sutton+ 483 282 98 0.742 1.71 483 164 58 0 3786.1 2728 832 718 201 812 2580 0.93 244 100
Nolan Ryan+ 481 283 107 0.726 1.61 481 199 61 0 3805.1 2234 835 679 120 1683 4145 1.03 437 169
Greg Maddux+ 480 291 88 0.768 1.75 480 104 34 0 3581.2 2763 827 698 157 599 2425 0.94 313 133
Roger Clemens 465 308 65 0.826 1.54 465 106 46 0 3514.2 2441 712 601 149 966 3378 0.97 268 144
Tom Seaver+ 454 273 96 0.74 1.7 454 212 61 0 3697.1 2591 810 700 189 949 2842 0.96 268 123
Gaylord Perry+ 453 279 102 0.732 1.63 453 271 53 0 3807.1 2855 868 688 165 854 2483 0.97 143 139
Steve Carlton+ 447 288 100 0.742 1.67 447 228 55 0 3648 2669 833 676 171 1119 2899 1.04 184 151
Phil Niekro+ 442 260 101 0.72 1.78 442 211 45 0 3554.1 2712 871 702 205 1016 2218 1.05 236 136
Tom Glavine+ 436 263 66 0.799 1.88 436 54 25 0 3133 2461 757 653 167 876 1844 1.07 139 103
Tommy John+ 431 258 88 0.746 1.72 431 151 46 0 3374 2781 794 644 141 749 1597 1.05 136 111
Bert Blyleven+ 429 251 99 0.717 1.73 429 205 60 0 3426.2 2648 797 660 176 824 2616 1.01 253 139

+ denotes that the player is a member of the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY

Single Season Quality Start Leaders
Player Year QS W L ND W-L% ERA GS CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
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

+ denotes that the player is a member of the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY


As of the end of the 2014 Major League Baseball (MLB) season, the highest "quality start" percentage for a given season in the live-ball era (post-1920) was recorded by Greg Maddux, who had 24 of them in 25 games in 1994. Dwight Gooden was 33-for-35 in 1985.

Since 1921, and through the 2014 MLB season, the overall leaders by percentage (min. 100 starts):[]

  1. Jacob deGrom (102 of 136, 75.0%)
  2. Clayton Kershaw (148 of 209, 70.8%)
  3. Tom Seaver (454 of 647, 70.2%)
  4. Adam Wainwright (152 of 217, 70%)
  5. Mel Stottlemyre (247 of 356, 69.4%)
  6. Félix Hernández (207 of 303, 68.3%)
  7. Bob Gibson (328 of 482, 68%)
  8. David Price (123 of 181, 68%)
  9. Jered Weaver (179 of 265, 67.5%)
  10. Spud Chandler (123 of 184, 66.8%)
  11. Randy Johnson (403 of 603, 66.8%)

Criticisms

High ERA

An early criticism of the statistic, made by Moss Klein, writing in The Sporting News, is that a pitcher could conceivably meet the minimum requirements for a quality start and record a 4.50 ERA, which is generally seen as undesirable.[4][5]Bill James addressed this in his 1987 Baseball Abstract, saying the hypothetical example (a pitcher going exactly 6 innings and allowing exactly 3 runs) was extremely rare among starts recorded as quality starts, and that he doubted any pitchers had an ERA over 3.20 in their quality starts. This was later confirmed through computer analysis of all quality starts recorded from 1984 to 1991, which found that the average ERA in quality starts during that time period was 1.91.[6]

Complete games

Another criticism against the statistic is that it is not beneficial for pitchers who pitch many innings per start. If a pitcher allows three earned runs in six innings, he gets a quality start with an ERA of 4.50 for that game. But if a pitcher pitches for nine innings and allows four earned runs, he would have a 4.00 ERA, but would not get a quality start. Former pitcher Carl Erskine said "in my day, a quality start was a complete game ... you gave everybody a day's rest."[7]

That the category is more reliable in the aggregate can be seen with countervailing individual examples, such as the ones listed by Sports Illustrated writer Joe Posnanski in a 2011 piece on the subject:

"In July 2000, Mark Mulder went 6 2/3 innings, gave up 15 hits and nine runs -- but only two were earned, so that was classified as a quality start.
In June 1997, Randy Johnson struck out 19 in a complete game but allowed four runs. That was not a quality start.
In July 1982, Mike Scott allowed seven hits and walked five in six innings, did not strike out anybody, gave up seven runs, but only three of those were earned. Quality start.
In April 1974, Gaylord Perry went 15 innings and allowed four runs. Not a quality start."[8]

Possible new criteria

Due to the reasons listed above, some have proposed a possible change in the criteria for a quality start. One of the proposals includes that for every two innings pitched, the starter is allowed to give up one earned run, and as long as he pitches five innings, a quality start would be recorded. This criterion would give Randy Johnson and Gaylord Perry listed in the above examples quality starts. This criteria would still allow a pitcher to have a 4.50 ERA and earn a quality start, but would better represent a quality start.

Dayn Perry of CBS Sports has introduced what he calls the "Dominant Start".[9] This stat would award a pitcher with a Dominant Start if he goes at least eight innings, and give up no more than one run, earned or unearned. This stat means that if a pitcher pitches a complete game and gives up two unearned runs, he would not get a Dominant Start. Perry argues that this stat would better show which pitchers are truly the best in all of baseball.

References

  1. ^ Neyer, Rob (2006-04-13). "Quality start still a good measure of quality". ESPN.
  2. ^ "MLB Statistics Glossary". ESPN. Retrieved .
  3. ^ "The Quality Starts and its Discontents". SBNation. Retrieved .
  4. ^ https://wgntv.com/2013/05/19/stats-sunday-quality-starts/
  5. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=gcwv4OxWTgIC&pg=PA139&lpg=PA139&dq=tim+mccarver+'quality+start'&source=bl&ots=3qOEM1YIhp&sig=cHkXIUwut7a5euVWYMHMvCZMQXA&hl=en&sa=X&ei=S9-ZUYfaPKjYywGfn4DwCQ#v=onepage&q=tim%20mccarver%20'quality%20start'&f=false
  6. ^ Smith, David (Spring 1992). "The Quality Start is a Useful Statistic". Archived from the original on 2011-07-04. Retrieved .
  7. ^ Zimniuch, Fran (2010). Fireman: The Evolution of the Closer in Baseball. Chicago: Triumph Books. p. 74. ISBN 978-1-60078-312-8.
  8. ^ Joe Blogs: All You Never Wanted To Know: Quality Starts
  9. ^ http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/eye-on-baseball/24659516/from-quality-start-to-dominant-start

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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