What is a Quality Start?
Posted: Jul 26, 2016
Aside from the starting quarterback, it can be argued that pitchers, namely Starting pitchers, have one of the most influential roles in all of sports. To put it in perspective let’s take a look at the stats of one of the most dominant pitchers to ever play the game: Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw is one of the most decorated pitchers in the history of the MLB with three CY youngs in the last five years, award given to best pitcher in his respective league, as well as winning the National League MVP in 2014. This year Kershaw is 11-2 on the year while the rest of the Dodgers staff is a mediocre 41-38. So without Kershaw? The Dodgers would be sitting at around a.500 record on the outside looking in for the playoff picture. Basically, anytime Kershaw is on the mound they have a significantly greater opportunity to win the game because game in and game out he provides the team with a quality start, leaving them in an excellent opportunity to end the game victorious.
What is a quality start? For MLB fantasy baseball purposes it is invaluable but the book definition is the following: When the starting pitcher of a team goes at least six innings into the game and gives up no more than three earned runs. Kershaw is tied for second in the league for this metric with fourteen of them already on the year, equating to almost 90% of his starts for the entire season. Compare that to a fantasy baseball pickup pitcher who is off to an abysmal start; Shelby Miller who has a total of two quality starts for the entire season! Both fantasy wise and for their respective clubs, the difference is astounding and not even comparable. Those who do fantasy baseball analysis look at the matchup and expect a quality start as a minimum for their respective pitcher. Although six innings and three runs per start sounds simple enough, baseball and offenses in particular have become increasingly erratic in regards to their offensive output for the game. This is due in large part that many pitchers have shied away from pitching to contact resulting in hitters going deeper into counts. The more pitches a batter sees in an at-bat and over the course of the game; the higher the probability he will see a mistake pitch most likely resulting in an extra-base hit. It takes a real knack and talent to be able to go every game and being able to limit your mistakes allowing you to go deep in the games like Kershaw does seemingly on a nightly basis.
Leo Aranas is an online writer and blogger.