What Is A Quality Start In Baseball?
A quality start in baseball is when a starting pitcher completes at least six innings while allowing three or fewer earned runs. A pitcher who earns a quality start receives a considerable stat bonus regardless of the game’s outcome.
Sportswriter Rob Neyer devised the rule in 2004 to accurately measure starting pitchers’ performances instead of using wins and losses as the sole criteria. The quality start has since become an accepted metric for judging pitchers’ outings.
While a quality start does not guarantee a win for the pitcher’s team, it does offer a good indication of how well the starter pitched. Starters who earn quality starts have about a 4-in-5 chance of getting the win.
The pitchers who frequently earn quality starts are considered among the best in the league. A pitcher’s ability to consistently deliver quality starts is often seen as a hallmark of excellence.
Why Quality Starts Are So Important
Save The Bullpen: If you can go out there and pitch six or more innings, then the bullpen doesn’t have to come in and pitch as many innings. This can be crucial, especially if the bullpen is tired or there aren’t many relievers available.
Build Confidence In Both The Pitcher and The Team: When a pitcher goes out there and gives his team a chance to win, he and his teammates build confidence which can be huge, especially when it comes to the postseason.
Save Runs: Runs are what ultimately decide games. If you can go out there and keep your team in the game by pitching well, that can be the difference between winning and losing.
If you can go out there and give your team a chance to win by pitching well, then you’re doing your job as a pitcher.
To summarize, In order to qualify as a quality start, a starting pitcher must complete at least six innings pitched and have given up three or fewer earned runs. If the starting pitcher completes six innings and gives up four earned runs, it is not considered a quality start. This rule was implemented to reward pitchers who go deep into games and keep their teams competitive.
Quality starts are an important stat to consider when evaluating pitchers, as they provide insight into how effective a starter is likely to be over the course of a long baseball season.