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Thursday, May 02, 2013

Henneman: MLB Should Abolish Quality Start From Statistics

This should be acted out in full Rick Santelli sub-human meltdown fashion.

One thing I like about listening to Jim Palmer on the Orioles’ telecasts is he’s not afraid to beat a topic to death if he feels strongly about it. For instance, take the so-called “quality start.”

Take it. Please, take it. Pretty please.

Take it and bury it along with every other irrelevant statistic you can imagine. You think the game-winning RBI was meaningless? That little number was a sabermetric gem compared with the QS. You don’t like the three-run lead, one-inning save rule? That’s a testimony to efficiency compared with the dreaded QS.

John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press is a good friend. He’s also the guy who invented the quality start, for which Palmer and I will never forgive him. It’s usually a good idea to be on Palmer’s side in a baseball discussion (usually, that is, not always), but his recent rant about the merit of a pitcher being rewarded for pitching six innings and allowing “only” three earned runs was so on target it begged for the term “quality start” to be relegated to the statistical dump.

...As Palmer pointed out, the major league earned run average hovers around the 4.00 mark. That’s lumping all the Justin Verlanders and Joe Blantons together and coming up with a 4.00 ERA, which, as it turns out, isn’t even the mean in MLB these days. Currently no fewer than 19 of the 30 major league teams (and nine of 15 in the American League) have an earned run average of 3.79 or less. And that’s not a fluke: 16 teams were less than 4.00 last year, 23 of them at 4.30 or less, identical numbers as 2011.

In its heyday, a quality start basically rewarded mediocrity. It passed the sniff test then only because pitchers were deemed to be vulnerable to steroid-stuffing sluggers. At its best, a quality start was no better than average, in other words a zero WAA (if you need it explained, you haven’t been paying attention).

The time has come to stop equating quality with average and mediocrity. I nominate Palmer to lead the charge to abolish the dreaded QS, a statistic that has lasted far beyond its time.

Repoz Posted: May 02, 2013 at 06:18 AM | 55 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: orioles, sabermetrics

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   1. John Northey Posted: May 02, 2013 at 07:01 AM (#4431516)
Howsabout we get rid of pitcher wins and losses too while we're at it? You can get a win by getting one out and giving up 10 runs to lose the lead, but if your team comes back in the next inning you could 'win' the game. Of course, there is a scores discretion there but it is rarely used. I've seen lots of 1 inning 2-3 runs given up losing a lead but getting the win cases. Meanwhile a pitcher could get a 'loss' for throwing 10 innings and allowing 1 unearned run. Compared to that the Quality Start is a wonderful stat as at least you had to be somewhat effective.
   2. bobm Posted: May 02, 2013 at 07:07 AM (#4431518)
Quality Starts provided no added value beyond what ERA gives you, thereby making Quality Starts a useless metric


http://tangotiger.com/index.php/site/article/is-quality-starts-a-useful-metric
   3. Cooper Nielson Posted: May 02, 2013 at 07:16 AM (#4431521)
Obviously this article is a piñata for the BBTF crowd, but I think the biggest hole in the author's argument is that he doesn't seem to understand that not all (or even most) quality starts are of the 6 inning, 3 ER variety. A quality start could also be 8 innings, 1 ER, or even 10 innings, 0 ER. Is it ridiculous to call those games "quality starts"? A significant percentage of "quality starts" are well-pitched games by even the curmudgeonliest standards. But we have to set the bar somewhere. Maybe the current definition is a little low, but it doesn't seem that ridiculous.

You could just as easily argue that they should throw away the Hall of Fame, because it rewards guys like Tony Perez and Jim Rice (and Jack Morris?) whose careers are so unexceptional that it takes them 15 years to even muster 75% of the vote -- nearly a quarter of all voters think they don't belong! But the Hall of Fame isn't filled with Rices and Perezes. Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb are in there too.
   4. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: May 02, 2013 at 07:18 AM (#4431522)
I suppose if we changed it to "Pitch Well Enough To Keep Your Team In The Game Start", it would be better.
   5. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 02, 2013 at 07:19 AM (#4431523)
Statistics are tools. If you don't like the tool, don't use it.
   6. Guapo Posted: May 02, 2013 at 07:29 AM (#4431527)
Ll vwls shld b blshd frm th nglsh lngg. Thy r ttlly nncssry.
   7. bobm Posted: May 02, 2013 at 08:02 AM (#4431539)
Monday, July 24, 2006
NYPost.com - Mushnick: Save Yourself From Statistics [...]

On McCarver and the “quality start” stat: Tim McCarver huffed with great indignation: “That category should be eliminated from Major League Baseball, quality starts . . . I cringe when I read these things in the papers. Quality starts. Rubbish.”

For starters, Buck brought it up, not a newspaper. But above that, it’s staggering that a learned baseball man such as McCarver would fully indulge - and over many years - the absurd save rule, while trashing a stat that at least tries to distinguish reasonably effective pitching from everything less. ... Yet, McCarver, who recites save totals as if they’re indicators of jobs well done, dismisses quality starts as complete nonsense. Cashews, almonds and pistachios, we’ve all gone nuts.


http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/newsstand/discussion/nypostcom_mushnick_save_yourself_from_statistics
   8. bobm Posted: May 02, 2013 at 08:14 AM (#4431543)
I think the biggest hole in the author's argument is that he doesn't seem to understand that not all (or even most) quality starts are of the 6 inning, 3 ER variety.

                                  1999  2012  
 MLB weighted average ERA in QS   2.18  2.01 
          MLB QS as % of all GS    46%   51%
MLB QS @ 6 IP, 3 ER; as % of QS     8%    9%

   9. Lassus Posted: May 02, 2013 at 08:18 AM (#4431544)
Ll vwls shld b blshd frm th nglsh lngg. Thy r ttlly nncssry.

Gawker used to have a system where the moderators would de-vowel overtly trolling or abusive posts. The problem is, you could really still read them anyhow, like Guapo's. Now, de-consonanting a post, that's punishment:
A ooa ou e aie o e Ei auae. ey eay ae' eea.
   10. bobm Posted: May 02, 2013 at 08:23 AM (#4431548)
Gawker used to have a system where the moderators would de-vowel overtly trolling or abusive posts

Disemvoweling?
   11. bobm Posted: May 02, 2013 at 08:26 AM (#4431549)
n thng lk bt lstnng t Jm Plmr n th rls’ tlcsts s h’s nt frd t bt tpc t dth f h fls strngly bt t. Fr nstnc, tk th s-clld “qlty strt.”

Tk t. Pls, tk t. Prtty pls.

Tk t nd bry t lng wth vry thr rrlvnt sttstc y cn mgn. Y thnk th gm-wnnng RB ws mnnglss? Tht lttl nmbr ws sbrmtrc gm cmprd wth th QS. Y dn’t lk th thr-rn ld, n-nnng sv rl? Tht’s tstmny t ffcncy cmprd wth th drdd QS.

Jhn Lw f th Dtrt Fr Prss s gd frnd. H’s ls th gy wh nvntd th qlty strt, fr whch Plmr nd wll nvr frgv hm. t’s slly gd d t b n Plmr’s sd n bsbll dscssn (slly, tht s, nt lwys), bt hs rcnt rnt bt th mrt f ptchr bng rwrdd fr ptchng sx nnngs nd llwng “nly” thr rnd rns ws s n trgt t bggd fr th trm “qlty strt” t b rlgtd t th sttstcl dmp.

...s Plmr pntd t, th mjr lg rnd rn vrg hvrs rnd th 4.00 mrk. Tht’s lmpng ll th Jstn Vrlndrs nd J Blntns tgthr nd cmng p wth 4.00 R, whch, s t trns t, sn’t vn th mn n MLB ths dys. Crrntly n fwr thn 19 f th 30 mjr lg tms (nd nn f 15 n th mrcn Lg) hv n rnd rn vrg f 3.79 r lss. nd tht’s nt flk: 16 tms wr lss thn 4.00 lst yr, 23 f thm t 4.30 r lss, dntcl nmbrs s 2011.

n ts hydy, qlty strt bsclly rwrdd mdcrty. t pssd th snff tst thn nly bcs ptchrs wr dmd t b vlnrbl t strd-stffng slggrs. t ts bst, qlty strt ws n bttr thn vrg, n thr wrds zr W (f y nd t xplnd, y hvn’t bn pyng ttntn).

Th tm hs cm t stp qtng qlty wth vrg nd mdcrty. nmnt Plmr t ld th chrg t blsh th drdd QS, sttstc tht hs lstd fr bynd ts tm.

   12. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 02, 2013 at 08:58 AM (#4431557)
I think Quality Start is fairly meaningless, but I think pitcher Wins are far more stupid.
   13. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: May 02, 2013 at 09:07 AM (#4431562)
Home runs should be abolished. I mean, a 310" pop fly is a "Home Run" in Boston? ridiculous.

Strikeouts should be abolished. I mean, if one pitcher only faces Adam Dunn, and another only faces Jeff Keppinger, that doesn't mean anything.

Team wins should be abolished. What if one team only faces the Marlins and Astros on the season, while another has to play every game against the Braves and Rangers?
   14. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 02, 2013 at 09:44 AM (#4431598)
It's like saying slugging percentage is useless, because if you hit a dinky little infield single, you have a slugging percentage of 1.000! That's not "slugging"!
   15. Long Time Listener, First Time Caller Posted: May 02, 2013 at 09:48 AM (#4431608)
All right. I've been convinced. Quality starts should be abolished. So what's the penalty for anyone observing or calculating a quality start going forward? Death? Torture? Having to listen to a playoff game announced by Joe Buck?
   16. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 02, 2013 at 10:03 AM (#4431628)

All right. I've been convinced. Quality starts should be abolished. So what's the penalty for anyone observing or calculating a quality start going forward? Death? Torture? Having to listen to a playoff game announced by Joe Buck?


Children taken away, obviously.
   17. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: May 02, 2013 at 10:09 AM (#4431636)
It bothers me that a pitcher can pitch a complete game and give up 4 runs, but that's not a quality start. I'm not sure how often that really happens, though...
   18. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: May 02, 2013 at 10:20 AM (#4431649)
It bothers me that a pitcher can pitch a complete game and give up 4 runs, but that's not a quality start. I'm not sure how often that really happens, though...


29 times since 2010. Only 4 of which were 9 innings, and only 3 of which were wins.
   19. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: May 02, 2013 at 10:23 AM (#4431651)
Thanks Misirlou! I always think of a CG as 9 innings. I keep forgetting it can be less than that.
   20. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: May 02, 2013 at 10:24 AM (#4431653)
The problem with the quality start as it exists is that it doesn't take into account the reasonably differing levels of expectation a team has from its rotation. Let me explain by using the Yankees as an example. Their current rotation is Sabathia / Kuroda / Pettitte / Hughes / Phelps.

If Phelps or even Hughes gives the Yanks 6 innings with only 3 runs, then he's given them about all that they can expect, given their past performances. And Pettitte's got so many miles on his odometer that it's hard to hold him to too much higher a standard. I'd put him in the gray area of expectation.

But If Kuroda and Sabathia were to consistently run out of gas after 6 innings instead of 7 or 8, then the Yankees' bullpen would all be in the hospital by the end of May. No ace or #2 starter can by any stretch of the imagination only be expected to give his team only 6 innings per start with a 4.50 ERA.

Bottom line is that I don't know how to incorporate this into any sort of a uniform stat, since defining "expectations" is more of an art than a science. But informally, I'd consider 7 innings / 3 runs to be the absolute minimum requirement for a quality start from any pitcher thought of as a #1 or #2 starter, or any pitcher with a long term big ticket contract.
   21. Dale Sams Posted: May 02, 2013 at 10:51 AM (#4431690)
Gawker used to have a system where the moderators would de-vowel overtly trolling or abusive posts


Welsh trolls would run the world.
   22. The District Attorney Posted: May 02, 2013 at 11:09 AM (#4431706)
A) Fine, so make it 2 runs in 6 innings or 3 runs in 7+ innings.

B) WHO CARES. The QS is a failed stat. (Is it even an official MLB statistic, BTW?) No one on earth knows who leads the league in QS right now or who led last year. Literally the only time I hear about the stat is when someone is making the dumb 4.50 ERA point. This complaint is like complaining that people need to shut up about the Y2K problem already.
   23. SoSH U at work Posted: May 02, 2013 at 11:10 AM (#4431707)
The one thing I'd change about QS is to make it 6 innings or greater, 4.50 ERA or lower. That keeps the floor the same, but doesn't allow someone to put up 8 innings of 4 ER, a better start than 6 IP, 3ER, yet not qualify.

   24. cardsfanboy Posted: May 02, 2013 at 11:11 AM (#4431711)
I know this is a pinata....but the quality start is a much, much better stat than wins or losses for a pitcher. It's an absurdly better stat, in regards to players who's career began after 1980-1990.

I have my own complaints against it,(post 18 gets to the heart of it) but it doesn't mean the stat doesn't have value, just that I wish it was slightly better (per my opinion).

The one thing I'd change about QS is to make it 6 innings or greater, 4.50 ERA or lower. That keeps the floor the same, but doesn't allow someone to put up 8 innings of 4 ER, a better start than 6 IP, 3ER, yet not qualify.


I would just change it to....if you complete the 6th inning with a quality start, it's an official stat. You can't lose it if you pitch bad in the 7th or later, as the stat is designed to measure the quality of the start, not the quality of the finish. It's a stat for the modern age of relievers.
   25. SoSH U at work Posted: May 02, 2013 at 11:16 AM (#4431720)

I would just change it to....if you complete the 6th inning with a quality start, it's an official stat. You can't lose it if you pitch bad in the 7th or later, as the stat is designed to measure the quality of the start, not the quality of the finish. It's a stat for the modern age of relievers.


I've got no problem with losing it. A "start" has never been defined by a fixed number of innings, but the performance of the starting pitcher. If you #### the bed in the 7th, then you didn't put up a QS, AFAIC.
   26. cardsfanboy Posted: May 02, 2013 at 11:21 AM (#4431729)
What I find most amazing about these complaints is that they have no problem with the win stat.. you can go out and pitch 6 innings, allow 6 runs and record a win, yet nobody is really making a big deal about that.
   27. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: May 02, 2013 at 11:40 AM (#4431760)
How do quality start correlate with winning? It looks like the guys who led the league in 2012 with QS were pretty darn good pitchers.

QS Leaders - 2012

   28. Kurt Posted: May 02, 2013 at 11:41 AM (#4431762)
The problem with the quality start as it exists is that it doesn't take into account the reasonably differing levels of expectation a team has from its rotation.


The bigger issue is that it doesn't take into account the context.

6IP 3ER against Detroit or Atlanta is probably a "quality" start; the same line against the Astros or Mariners might not be.
   29. cardsfanboy Posted: May 02, 2013 at 11:52 AM (#4431789)

The bigger issue is that it doesn't take into account the context.

6IP 3ER against Detroit or Atlanta is probably a "quality" start; the same line against the Astros or Mariners might not be.


Do we want it to? ERA is just fine, the only context we usually care about is park effects so we have era+... quality of opposition is nice for advanced stats, but for a simple box score type of stat, I don't see any need for that.
   30. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 02, 2013 at 12:00 PM (#4431803)
The bigger issue is that it doesn't take into account the context.

6IP 3ER against Detroit or Atlanta is probably a "quality" start; the same line against the Astros or Mariners might not be.


Couldn't you say this about every single stat? A home run against Luke Hochevar isn't as impressive as one against Felix Hernandez but we don't sweat it when looking at the home run leaders.
   31. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 02, 2013 at 12:04 PM (#4431810)

I would just change it to....if you complete the 6th inning with a quality start, it's an official stat. You can't lose it if you pitch bad in the 7th or later, as the stat is designed to measure the quality of the start, not the quality of the finish. It's a stat for the modern age of relievers.


Why should we discount runs after the sixth inning? Its not designed to measure the "start of the start", its meant to measure the Game Started. Otherwise it would be "ERA in innings 1-6"

The problem with the quality start as it exists is that it doesn't take into account the reasonably differing levels of expectation a team has from its rotation. Let me explain by using the Yankees as an example. Their current rotation is Sabathia / Kuroda / Pettitte / Hughes / Phelps.


Why should expectations matter? I wouldn't expect Phelps to have as many quality starts as Sabathia. That doesn't mean Phelps sucks, but why equate the two simply because you don't think Phelps is that good? We don't normalize any other stats for expectations.
   32. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: May 02, 2013 at 12:18 PM (#4431843)
I think the word "quality" is a bit too vague for a hard number/counting stat, and that's what people are hung up about. If after six innings your guys given up no more than three runs, your team's in the game if not outright winning it. That may not be HIGH quality, but it's a performance with value. Consider that of the 816 starts so far this season, only 52% of all starts would qualify as QSs; if it were so easy, we'd see more.
   33. Depressoteric Posted: May 02, 2013 at 01:17 PM (#4431926)
Ll vwls shld b blshd frm th nglsh lngg. Thy r ttlly nncssry.
You may well have already known this, but a number of languages (ancient ones, primarily) did just that -- failed to mark vowels in their phonetic orthography. The most obvious examples are the Semitic languages: both ancient Hebrew and early Arabic lacked any vowel markings. Later on these were added to written Arabic & Hebrew for the simple reason that, without vowels, older texts written in those languages became nearly incomprehensible: at the time of writing speakers would have had no trouble "filling in the blanks" using contextual knowledge and current pronunciation, but both those things change rapidly over time, which forced later readers of texts like the Qu'ran into a guessing game as to the real shape and meaning of many words.

It's really a fascinating sub-field of historical linguistics. In particular, the Qu'ran is in truth nearly incomprehensible in many places because later commentators had no idea what the ACTUAL words (and their meanings at the time of original use, i.e. ca. 500-600CE) meant. Thus the long and often rather rhetorically tortured apparatus of Qu'ranic commentary.

I don't know what any of this has to do with Quality Starts, though.
   34. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: May 02, 2013 at 01:27 PM (#4431936)
Obvio
usly this article is a piñata for the BBTF crowd, but I think the biggest hole in the author's argument is that he doesn't seem to understand that not all (or even most) quality starts are of the 6 inning, 3 ER variety. A quality start could also be 8 innings, 1 ER, or even 10 innings, 0 ER. Is it ridiculous to call those games "quality starts"? A significant percentage of "quality starts" are well-pitched games by even the curmudgeonliest standards. But we have to set the bar somewhere. Maybe the current definition is a little low, but it doesn't seem that ridiculous.


It's the range that's silly, though, and frankly, a performance that is actually worse than league average shouldn't be possible for a "Quality Start".

Why not simply make it any performance of 6 innings or more w a game ERA of 3.00 or less? Or 6+ innings and no more than 2 runs, and 7-9 innings with no more than 3 runs? Or 6-7 innings and no more than 2 runs and 8-9 innings and no more than 3 runs? Put's the 'good' back in 'quality' which, in fact, requires a modifier here.

That last example has the virtue of feeling like a quality start, fwiw, it looks balanced, and it's easy to remember. I therefore declare that hereeverafter, a GQS shall be 6 or 7 innings and no more than 2 runs, or 8 or 9 innings and no more than 3 runs.

Let it be thus.
   35. cardsfanboy Posted: May 02, 2013 at 03:46 PM (#4432109)
Why should we discount runs after the sixth inning? Its not designed to measure the "start of the start", its meant to measure the Game Started. Otherwise it would be "ERA in innings 1-6"


I admit it's my personal preference. I'm just not a fan of counting stats, that you can lose once you have earned it. You hit a homerun, it doesn't matter what happens(outside of a rainout) and you get the +1 added to your counting stat total for homerun.

Of course the argument against my preference (outside of "get over it") is that the win works somewhat similarly, in that you can leave the game with a win possibility, but because of your team/relievers, it could turn into a no decision(or even a loss if you have runners on base when you left) but I don't really think that is similar.

It's the range that's silly, though, and frankly, a performance that is actually worse than league average shouldn't be possible for a "Quality Start".

Why not simply make it any performance of 6 innings or more w a game ERA of 3.00 or less? Or 6+ innings and no more than 2 runs, and 7-9 innings with no more than 3 runs? Or 6-7 innings and no more than 2 runs and 8-9 innings and no more than 3 runs? Put's the 'good' back in 'quality' which, in fact, requires a modifier here.


Because then it's measuring "good starts". As it stands it's absolutely perfect and accurate. 3 runs over 6 innings(which is the worst performance you will get out of a QS) still puts your team in the game. And as mentioned on this thread, and every other thread on the Quality Start...too many people are paying attention to the worst possible result. As someone pointed out upthread, 9% of the quality starts recorded are of the 6 ip, 3 run variety.

We are perfectly accepting of a 6 run, 5 ip win, why is everyone so hung up on a 3 run 6ip qs?
   36. cardsfanboy Posted: May 02, 2013 at 03:58 PM (#4432128)
Since 1985, there have been 4762 wins in which the pitcher wouldn't have been awarded a quality start(more than 4 runs allowed)and another 6423 where they were awarded a win and didn't even go 6 innings. .
There have been 4988 starts by pitchers in which they would have met the dreaded 6ip, 3 earned run monster.

Drawback, of those 4988 6 ip, 3 earned run appearances, the team won 2, 284 of them... So historically the worst performance out of a pitcher to get a quality start, gives his team a 45% chance to win.

Heck, There have been 1760 games in which the pitcher didn't get into the 6th inning, allowed 4 or more runs and still recorded the win... Quality start isn't the problem stat here.


   37. zonk Posted: May 02, 2013 at 04:09 PM (#4432139)
Edwin Jackson is hard at work on the elimination of QS's for the Cubs....
   38. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: May 02, 2013 at 04:57 PM (#4432207)
A) Fine, so make it 2 runs in 6 innings or 3 runs in 7+ innings.


Why not simply make it any performance of 6 innings or more w a game ERA of 3.00 or less? Or 6+ innings and no more than 2 runs, and 7-9 innings with no more than 3 runs? Or 6-7 innings and no more than 2 runs and 8-9 innings and no more than 3 runs?


Either of those ideas would be better than one with a baseline of an abbreviated start with a 4.50 ERA. But IMO the Game Score metric in BB-Reference, which is expressed in a simple 2 or 3 digit number, is superior to all of them, and could easily be incorporated into a box score.
   39. Walt Davis Posted: May 02, 2013 at 06:14 PM (#4432271)
But what do we consider a good games score Andy?

50 + 18 + 4 - 12 - 6 + (K - BB)

A 6 IP, 3 ER starts is generally gonna have a game score around 56.

It's fair enough to point out that if half of the starts meet the criteria then these are not "quality" starts but "above-average" starts. OK, technically above-median starts. Anyway, it's valid enough to ask for the name of the stat to be changed or for the criteria to be raised such that it represents "quality".

What percentage of starts would meet a 7/3 threshold? If that's somewhere around 1/4 to 1/3, that's probably a better fit to the concept of "quality."

Part of the problem is that folks don't understand distributions. Shocking! But the league ERA is only as high as 3.79 (or whatever) because of some really stinker starts. If I did P-I right, then in 2012 there were 852 starts where the starter gave up at least as many ER as IP. So the typical team would have 82 QS, 52 CS and 28 TCS.

I don't know how to get aggregate ERA in these starts but just choosing 2012 Toronto given they had the average 28 TCS ... they gave up 171 ER in 109 IP for a nice, comfy ERA of 14.12. The 2012 Jays gave up only 784 runs so 22% (or more with unearned runs) of their total runs surrendered came in those 109 IP. As a whole, their starters had an ERA of 4.82; take out the TCS and it was 3.57. The typical quality start is going to be better than that.

Probably the single most important thing is avoiding the total crap start. Or at least it's right up there with avoiding inflammable bullpens. Of course that means having healthy, talented starting pitchers.
   40. dr. scott Posted: May 02, 2013 at 06:36 PM (#4432289)
this is easy. Piss off everyone and have a QS only count if the team wins! It replaces both wins and QS!
   41. Kurt Posted: May 02, 2013 at 06:45 PM (#4432301)
Couldn't you say this about every single stat? A home run against Luke Hochevar isn't as impressive as one against Felix Hernandez but we don't sweat it when looking at the home run leaders.


Yes, but part of it is sample size. We don't sweat it when looking at home run leaders because over 600 or 700 PA's, the pitchers you hit against are more likely to balance out than your opponents in 30 or 35 starts. And yes, most people discounted it when Dante Bichette or someone hit a lot of home runs.

Also, "home run" has a fixed definition, and the term itself doesn't include a value judgment the way "quality start" does.
   42. rlc Posted: May 02, 2013 at 07:26 PM (#4432332)
2013 Orioles:
QS     9-3
other  7
-

The three team losses when recording a QS all occurred when the opposition also had a QS.

Finishing the sixth inning has been a particular bugaboo for the O's this year:
Split          G   IP ER  ERA  PA  AB  R  H 2B 3B HR SB CS BB SO SO/BB   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS  TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB ROE BAbip tOPSsOPS+
6th inning    28 28.0 28 9.00 134 117 28 40  7  2  8  0  1 12 18  1.50 .342 .402 .641 1.043  75   2   1  2  2   1   0  .344   186   181 


Cakes should get out of his basement and watch a game sometime.
   43. cardsfanboy Posted: May 02, 2013 at 07:42 PM (#4432357)

Quality start is no different than saves, holds, wins or losses. The only difference is that out of all of those stats, quality start is the ONLY one that actually limits the pitchers ability to suck. The worst a pitcher can do and get a quality start is 6 ip, 3 runs allowed...this happens less than 10% of all quality starts recorded. A person can record a save and be much worse than that. A person can record a win and be much worse than that. Same with Holds... A guy can pitch 9 innings of ball, allow one unearned run and record a loss.

There has to be a threshold point, and 6ip, 4.50 is the upper limit.
   44. Walt Davis Posted: May 02, 2013 at 11:25 PM (#4432609)
I kind of like cfb's idea.

1) As he notes, it seems odd to "take away" something. When a guy singles and then gets thrown out at second stretching it or on a steal attempt, we don't take away the single.

2) It fits with current pitcher usage. Leave the precise definition to the side for the moment but if the pitcher goes 6 and doesn't give up a "lot" of runs, then he's done his job. If the QS gets blown later, that's more on the manager for leaving him in to blow it while 19 guys sit in the bullpen twiddling their thumbs.

3) Silly thing I am, if anything rather than fixating on 6/3, I've thought 8/4 and 9/4 should be QS too.

But, yes, if we are to take the term "quality" seriously, the standards have to be raised, even moreso if we go with cfb's idea and/or my extension. QS% is already at 52%. Add in the blown QS's and we might be at 55, 60 or even 65%. You know it's possible that not all the cars from Bob's Quality Used Cars are actually quality.

Game score would achieve much the same thing, especially in practice, but it has a similar theoretical issue in that a 10 K, 0 BB, 5 solo HR game could have a game score around 65.
   45. bobm Posted: May 03, 2013 at 12:12 AM (#4432636)
2012 MLB starts frequency by ER and IP

Columns: Earned Runs
Rows: Innings Pitched, Rounded Down (i.e. "6" IP here means 6, 6.1, 6.2)

      0    1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10    11    12
 0 0.1% 0.1%           0.1% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
 1 0.1% 0.0% 0.1%      0.1% 0.2% 0.2% 0.1% 0.2% 0.0%
 2 0.1% 0.2% 0.1% 0.2% 0.3% 0.2% 0.5% 0.3% 0.2% 0.0%              0.0%
 3 0.2% 0.2% 0.2% 0.6% 0.7% 0.9% 1.1% 0.3% 0.4% 0.1%     
 4 0.2% 0.6% 1.0% 1.0% 2.1% 1.4% 1.4% 0.8% 0.4% 0.1%  0.0%  0.0%
 5 1.1% 2.4% 3.8% 3.8% 4.4% 3.3% 1.5% 0.7% 0.3% 0.1%
   
 6 3.2% 6.0% 7.6% 6.5% 4.1% 2.0% 1.0% 0.3% 0.1%          
 7 4.3% 6.7% 5.4% 3.3% 1.4% 0.7% 0.1% 0.0%
 8 1.7% 2.3% 1.5% 0.4% 0.3% 0.1%               0.0%
 9 1.5% 0.6% 0.2% 0.1%
10 0.0%            


BOLD = QS
   46. bobm Posted: May 03, 2013 at 12:15 AM (#4432638)
2012 MLB quality starts frequency by ER and IP

Columns: Earned Runs
Rows: Innings Pitched, Rounded Down (i.e. "6" IP here means 6, 6.1, 6.2)

      0     1     2     3
 6 6.2% 11.7% 14.9% 12.8%
 7 8.3% 13.2% 10.5%  6.4%
 8 3.3%  4.4%  2.9%  0.8%
 9 3.0%  1.1%  0.4%  0.1%
10 0.0%  0.0%  0.0%  0.0%
   47. Brian White Posted: May 03, 2013 at 09:12 AM (#4432756)
Now I really want to know who threw an 8 IP, 9 ER start in 2012.
   48. ASmitty Posted: May 03, 2013 at 09:37 AM (#4432764)
This cracks me up, because QS may be my favorite pitching statistic. It measures durability, consistency, and ability; which are basically the three things I want out of a starting pitcher.

Last year, Dickey led the NL in quality starts and Verlander and Price tied for the lead in the AL. The stat doesn't reward mediocrity; it rewards taking the mound every fifth day and being consistently above average.
   49. ASmitty Posted: May 03, 2013 at 10:36 AM (#4432844)
As an exercise, here is what my Cy Young ballots over the last five years would look like if I just voted based on total quality starts, with ERA as a tie breaker:

2012: Dickey/Price
2011: Cain/Verlander
2010: Wainwright/Hernandez
2009: Lincecum/Hernandez
2008: Santana/Buehrle

Pretty good list, no? Buehrle in '08 is the only real WTF, as he recorded one more QS than Cliff Lee, who actually (and deservedly) won that year. It's a really good, if rough, statistic.
   50. bobm Posted: May 03, 2013 at 11:12 AM (#4432871)
Now I really want to know who threw an 8 IP, 9 ER start in 2012.

Sorry about the formatting, but apparently there was an 8 IP, 8 ER start.

                                                                                 
Rk      Player       Date  Tm Opp   Rslt  AppDec  IP  H R ER BB SO HR Pit Str GSc
1    Alex Cobb 2012-06-25 TBR KCR L  0-8 CG 8  L 8.0 13 8  8  0  1  1 113  74  25

   51. bobm Posted: May 03, 2013 at 11:22 AM (#4432887)
http://tampa.cbslocal.com/2012/06/26/joe-maddon-alex-cobb-heroic-tampa-bay-rays-royals/

Was Alex Cobb’s Disastrous Game Really ‘Heroic’?

In a post-game press conference, Tampa Bay Rays Manager Joe Maddon described Alex Cobb’s performance against the Kansas City Royals as “heroic”. On Tuesday’s edition of The Commish, Justin Pawlowski said he wasn’t sure if “heroic” was the word he would use to describe Cobb’s Monday-night exhibition against the Royals — achieving a complete game but giving up eight runs on 13 hits.

This was Maddon’s exact quote about Cobb: “The fact that he saved the bullpen was outstanding. The average fan may not understand exactly what he did. It’s heroic in a baseball sense.” [...]

The Bullpen needed rest after a Sunday double-header with the Philadelphia Phillies and Cobb was the guy that could offer that rest.


Alex Cobb postgame conference
   52. Brian White Posted: May 03, 2013 at 02:55 PM (#4433118)
Sorry about the formatting, but apparently there was an 8 IP, 8 ER start.


Nifty. 37 batters faced, 113 pitches, just barely over 3 pitches per batter. That's a lot of swinging early in the count. Do I need to mention that Jeff Francoeur was involved in this game? No? Well, I mentioned it anyway.
   53. Ron J2 Posted: May 03, 2013 at 03:15 PM (#4433148)
#50 Moderately common in our Strat league. Game gets out of hand early and a lousy pitcher gets a gritty complete game loss.
   54. bobm Posted: May 03, 2013 at 05:51 PM (#4433352)
From 2003 to 2013, Pitcher Lost, as Starter, (requiring IPouts>=24), sorted by greatest ER

                                                                                          
Rk            Player       Date  Tm Opp   Rslt  AppDec  IP  H R ER BB SO HR Pit Str GSc BF
1          Alex Cobb 2012-06-25 TBR KCR L  0-8 CG 8  L 8.0 13 8  8  0  1  1 113  74  25 35
2       Josh Beckett 2009-08-23 BOS NYY L  4-8 GS-8  L 8.0  9 8  8  0  5  5 120  87  37 33
3       Carlos Silva 2006-04-18 MIN LAA L  2-8 GS-9  L 8.2 12 8  8  1  1  1 109  78  28 37
                                                                                          
4      Randy Johnson 2008-06-20 ARI MIN L  2-7 CG 8  L 8.0 11 7  7  2  1  1 112  74  31 34
5       Mark Buehrle 2004-09-20 CHW MIN L  2-8 GS-8  L 8.0 10 7  7  3  3  4 112  72  34 35
6      Bartolo Colon 2003-06-12 CHW SFG L  4-8 GS-9  L 8.1  7 7  7  2  8  2 100  70  47 35
                                                                                          
7          Cliff Lee 2010-07-10 TEX BAL L  1-6 CG 9  L 9.0  9 6  6  0  2  3  95  73  47 35
8       Joel Pineiro 2010-06-01 LAA KCR L  3-6 CG 8  L 8.0 10 6  6  0  2  1  98  68  40 33
9        Joe Blanton 2009-05-09 PHI ATL L  2-6 GS-8  L 8.0  8 6  6  1  5  2 110  76  46 33
10     James Shields 2008-06-10 TBR LAA L  1-6 CG 8  L 8.0 10 6  6  0  9  2 108  76  47 33
11   Chris Carpenter 2006-09-21 STL HOU L  5-6 CG 8  L 8.0  9 6  6  0  5  2 106  71  45 31
12    Nate Robertson 2006-05-31 DET NYY L  1-6 GS-9  L 8.2 10 6  6  2  7  0 120  78  45 38
13     Randy Johnson 2005-08-21 NYY CHW L  2-6 CG 8  L 8.0 10 6  6  0  8  4 117  83  46 32
14     Freddy Garcia 2005-07-20 CHW DET L  6-8 GS-8  L 8.0 12 6  6  3  5  2 112  71  36 36
15      Brandon Webb 2005-07-09 ARI CIN L  2-6 GS-8  L 8.0  9 6  6  3  5  1 115  71  42 34
16      Carlos Silva 2004-06-29 MIN CHW L  2-6 GS-9  L 8.2 11 6  6  0  2  2 112  77  40 37
17      Mike Mussina 2003-08-23 NYY BAL L  2-7 GS-9  L 8.1  9 6  6  0  4  1 116  86  45 33


   55. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: May 04, 2013 at 11:33 PM (#4434288)
As an
exercise, here is what my Cy Young ballots over the last five years would look like if I just voted based on total quality starts, with ERA as a tie breaker:

2012: Dickey/Price
2011: Cain/Verlander
2010: Wainwright/Hernandez
2009: Lincecum/Hernandez
2008: Santana/Buehrle

Pretty good list, no? Buehrle in '08 is the only real WTF, as he recorded one more QS than Cliff Lee, who actually (and deservedly) won that year. It's a really good, if rough, statistic.


You can also come up with other stats that aren't particularly meaningful in isolation, but will also yield reasonable Cy winners. I don't think anyone here is claiming that QS are complete BS, only that it's an incomplete stat that, as currently figured, yields some very non-Quality Starts masquerading as QS.

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