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View Full Version : Is a "Quality Start" really quality?



1990REDS
06-18-2010, 06:17 PM
Ive noticed this topic talked about in a couple diffrent threads so i figured i would start a thread for it. I say no, i think it should be 7IP and 3ER for the minimum. I just think 6 innings is more average than quality. I would however like to know the winning% of teams who get the minimum quality start out of thier pitcher (6IP 3ER). Does anyone have this info or know were i can find it? Just curious to see what everyone on the boards opinion is on this topic.

Kingspoint
06-18-2010, 06:29 PM
I agree.

bshall2105
06-18-2010, 06:32 PM
I think that a quality start is a quality start. If somebody told me that we are getting 6 innings of 3 run baseball from our starter before the game I'd take it in a heartbeat.

Kingspoint
06-18-2010, 06:47 PM
I think that a quality start is a quality start. If somebody told me that we are getting 6 innings of 3 run baseball from our starter before the game I'd take it in a heartbeat.

Not me.

It's a recipe for Losses and a disaster for the bullpen over time.

We give up 3 runs in 6 innings tonight and we'll lose the game.

Griffey012
06-18-2010, 06:55 PM
It is what it is...a "quality" start. Not a good one, a great one, and not even high quality or good quality, but just plain quality. 7 IP and 3ER or less is a good start or good quality, 8 IP and 3 ER of less is high quality or a great start. Anything better is just gravy.

I think people forget a lot of times that 6 IP and 3 ER is the lowest of quality starts you can have.

And Kings, I have to agree, while 6 IP and 3 ER is an accomplishment for Harang these days, it is severely mediocre, and as you mentioned a recipe for disaster. If my 5th starter gives me 6 IP and 3 ER's I have happy. And if my 4th gives me 6 IP and 3 ER I can deal with it. But I want more 6 IP and 3 ER out of my 1,2 & 3 starters on a bad day.

GIDP
06-18-2010, 06:56 PM
I think its subjective and a decent stat on a long term scale. Short term? No.

bshall2105
06-18-2010, 06:59 PM
[QUOTE=Kingspoint;2123953]Not me.

It's a recipe for Losses and a disaster for the bullpen over time.

We give up 3 runs in 6 innings tonight and we'll lose the game.[/QUOTE

But more often than that we get six innings of 5 earned or worse. I think that is a little too picky.

Kingspoint
06-18-2010, 07:01 PM
We won't even score 3 runs tonight.

How can giving up 3 runs be "quality" when you lose the game?

bshall2105
06-18-2010, 07:05 PM
I'm talking about on any given day. Also I think we'll do pretty well offensively tonight. I don't know why, I'm just feeling a high run total tonight. Cliff Lee is tough, but we have guys like Gomes who destroy lefties.

FlightRick
06-18-2010, 08:28 PM
I like the idea of the "Quality Start" as a stat. More meaningful than "wins," anyway.

That said, I share the concern that 6IP and 3ER is not truly "quality" in the eyes of somebody with reasonable standards. To me, the concept behind the "quality start" should be a "start that gives a pitcher's team a chance to win the ballgame." Whether they win or not isn't important; but that the SP gave his team a chance to do so (without performing any acts outside the realm of the utterly plausible) is important.

The QS concept should also be context-independent, and applicable to all teams. What I mean by this is that 6IP is not "giving your team a chance to win" on some teams. Some teams DO have tons of reliable middle relief, and can bridge 3 innings till the end of the game without giving up any more runs. But MOST teams can at least boast a solid set-up man and a go-to closer. So MOST teams can expect to get 6 outs at the end of a game where they only need to score 4 our fewer runs to win. Getting 9 outs (one full time through the line-up, no lucky breaks missing the heart of the order) is a much dodgier proposition, which is why I think -- at the very least -- you need to up a "Quality Start" to 7 IP. Keep the ER at 3, but up the IP to 7, and I'm OK.

I'd also like to see an additional qualifier: runners-allowed. You're only counting EARNED runs against the pitcher, but sometimes the UNEARNED runs he allows are still kinda sorta maybe his fault for allowing runners on base to begin with, and thus putting undo pressure on his defense. Keep the WHIP down, and you're only doing MORE good for yourself and for your team in terms of keeping the game close/winnable.

So maybe make a QS 7 IP, 3 ER, and 10 Runners. That's a 3.8 ERA and a 1.4 WHIP if a pitcher only gives you the minimum innings (and a 3.0 ERA and a 1.1 WHIP if he gives you the complete game). That's alot closer to a "quality" outing than the current definition of a QS (which is something most #4 starters deliver, on average, over the course of a season).

I might be amenable to tweaking the formula for use in the AL vs. the NL, but I think I'd still keep the 7 IP intact. I'd even vote for keeping it at 3 ER. But I could see easing the requirement on runners-allowed in the AL, to account for facing the DH.

Of course, with all that said, the fact of the matter is that "Quality Start" has already been defined, and is a part of baseball parlance. We can't just go changing the definition... at best, what we can do is make the "Quality Start" an obsolete term, and try to champion a new metric that's a little more discriminating than 6 IP and 3 ER....


Rick

Kingspoint
06-19-2010, 08:31 AM
I like the idea of the "Quality Start" as a stat. More meaningful than "wins," anyway.

That said, I share the concern that 6IP and 3ER is not truly "quality" in the eyes of somebody with reasonable standards. To me, the concept behind the "quality start" should be a "start that gives a pitcher's team a chance to win the ballgame." Whether they win or not isn't important; but that the SP gave his team a chance to do so (without performing any acts outside the realm of the utterly plausible) is important.

The QS concept should also be context-independent, and applicable to all teams. What I mean by this is that 6IP is not "giving your team a chance to win" on some teams. Some teams DO have tons of reliable middle relief, and can bridge 3 innings till the end of the game without giving up any more runs. But MOST teams can at least boast a solid set-up man and a go-to closer. So MOST teams can expect to get 6 outs at the end of a game where they only need to score 4 our fewer runs to win. Getting 9 outs (one full time through the line-up, no lucky breaks missing the heart of the order) is a much dodgier proposition, which is why I think -- at the very least -- you need to up a "Quality Start" to 7 IP. Keep the ER at 3, but up the IP to 7, and I'm OK.

I'd also like to see an additional qualifier: runners-allowed. You're only counting EARNED runs against the pitcher, but sometimes the UNEARNED runs he allows are still kinda sorta maybe his fault for allowing runners on base to begin with, and thus putting undo pressure on his defense. Keep the WHIP down, and you're only doing MORE good for yourself and for your team in terms of keeping the game close/winnable.

So maybe make a QS 7 IP, 3 ER, and 10 Runners. That's a 3.8 ERA and a 1.4 WHIP if a pitcher only gives you the minimum innings (and a 3.0 ERA and a 1.1 WHIP if he gives you the complete game). That's alot closer to a "quality" outing than the current definition of a QS (which is something most #4 starters deliver, on average, over the course of a season).

I might be amenable to tweaking the formula for use in the AL vs. the NL, but I think I'd still keep the 7 IP intact. I'd even vote for keeping it at 3 ER. But I could see easing the requirement on runners-allowed in the AL, to account for facing the DH.

Of course, with all that said, the fact of the matter is that "Quality Start" has already been defined, and is a part of baseball parlance. We can't just go changing the definition... at best, what we can do is make the "Quality Start" an obsolete term, and try to champion a new metric that's a little more discriminating than 6 IP and 3 ER....


Rick

Now you're talking. That's why Bill James threw away the "Quality Start" as a stat to be used when looking at an individual pitcher's performance on a given night and came up with his "Game Score".

The Average Game Score currently in the National League is 51. But, for many teams that would be a terrible performance. The average Game Score for a Giants Starter is 57, St. Louis is 55, and San Diego is 54. On the reverse side, Pittsburgh is 42, Washington 46 and Milwaukee 47. Pittsburgh really drops the League average down. If they weren't in the League the League Average would be 52. (9 teams are above the league average while 5 teams are below it (Cincy is at 49, so we're used to looking at below average performances, probably one of the reasons so many people are satisfied with 6IP and 3 ER).

To put 6IP and 3ER in perspective, here's the Game Score for that kind of line:

6IP, 7H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 4K (That's about normal for someone who has a 4.50 ERA...as they'd have about a 1.500 WHIP, a 6K/9IP and 3BB/9IP ratio, while giving up slightly more hits than innings pitched. That line is a Game Score of 48. One more strikeout or one less walk would make it a 49 and be the average pitching performance we get from a RED this year.

Is that good enough to be called a quality start? We've won more games than we've lost on the season, that's for sure. But, when you look at the stretch where we were playing .700 ball 6 weeks, it was because we were averaging Game Scores of around 54-55. The difference is that our starters were going deeper into games while giving up just two runs. That gives your team a chance to win. When you have a line like this:

7IP, 7H, 3R, 2ER, 3BB, 6K.............that gives your team a chance to win. There might have been an error, but you probably pitched out of it for the most part. There has to be a double-play or two in there because you went 7 innings while still getting 6 K's. Even though there were 3 Walks, there were enough times where you let the batters hit the ball to the defenders and let them do their work. You can shut out a team for two innings a lot easier than 3 innings. Most of the time you're also going to score three runs, so you can at least take the game into extra innings (where the REDS won their first 5 times this season before losing their last one).

If a Pitcher is going to give his team a chance to win and ends up giving up 3 Runs, (earned or not...it doesn't matter), he needs to figure out a way to go 7 innings, so that there's enough pitchers left, who didn't pitch last night, to finish tonight's game without giving up a run, leaving some left to pitch tomorrow who got rested tonight because he went 7 innings and not 6 or 6.1 or 6.2.

If a pitcher is not going to finish the 7th inning by himself, then he needs to get out of there having given up less than 2 runs. While many pitchers have actually done this before the players they left on base ended up scoring due to bad bullpen pitching, it's still their responsibility to not let those guys get on base even though they are up in the 110-pitch count and have nothing left. They need to be smarter with their pitch, and/or suck it up big time for just a couple of more batters....not try to throw harder, but throw smarter.

Some of this will of course improve when we get a couple more relief pitchers doing a better job with runners on base (like DRH did Friday).

Caveman Techie
06-19-2010, 07:55 PM
A QS is the line at which the starting pitcher can be considered to have done his job. On a team with average offense if you line up all of their QS's more times than not they would have won that game.

Despite Kingspoint wanting to draw the line of Quality at the ace level, more often than not if you got a Quality (notice I didn't say GREAT) start then your team should still be in the game.