Skip to content

What is a Quality Start in Baseball?

    What is a quality start in baseball

    Being a successful pitcher in baseball relies on more than just the number of wins they record. For starters, one game can be very different from another where you can leave with few or no strikeouts and yet still snag the victory for your team, but then there are also games where even if you win, it could feel like an issue is missing.

    This missing piece to the puzzle is a Quality Start in Baseball. A Quality Start means far more than just a simple win in keeping score; this stat becomes vital to any pitcher’s career path within their baseball journey as it shows how consistent they are at their craft.

    What is a quality start in baseball
    Source: Metro League

    Let’s go over everything you need to know about what makes up a Quality start so that next time somebody mentions having Vélez’ quality, things don’t get confusing.

    What is a Quality Start In Baseball?

    For those unfamiliar with the term “quality start” in baseball, it refers to a pitcher’s performance during a game.

    A quality start is achieved when a starting pitcher completes at least six innings and gives up no more than three earned runs.

    It may not sound like an impressive feat, but a quality start is considered a solid performance in a sport where every pitch can make or break a game.

    It gives the team a chance to win. It shows the pitcher could maintain control and limit the opponent’s scoring opportunities.

    With the importance placed on the pitcher’s role in baseball, the quality start has become a key statistic in evaluating a hurler’s performance and determining his value to the team.

    Also Read: What is a Baseball Cycle?

    How is a Quality Start Different from a Complete Game?

    When it comes to baseball, two common terms you might hear thrown around are “quality start” and “complete game.”

    While both are related to a pitcher’s performance, they represent two different outcomes.

    A quality start requires the pitcher to throw at least six innings while allowing no more than three earned runs.

    On the other hand, a complete game means the pitcher completed all nine innings without being relieved by another pitcher.

    While both are impressive feats in their own right, there’s no denying that completing nine innings is a greater accomplishment – it requires much more endurance and consistency from the pitcher.

    With that said, achieving a quality start still shows great skill and can greatly benefit a team.

    Quality start vs. complete game

    Regarding pitching in baseball, there’s always the debate between quality starts and complete games.

    A quality start is defined as a pitcher giving up three runs or less over six innings pitched, while a complete game is when a pitcher goes the distance and finishes the entire game.

    It’s easy to see why complete games hold a certain allure. Just something about a pitcher going the full nine innings is impressive. However, quality starts should be noticed too.

    They may not be as flashy, but they’re still an important stat that shows a pitcher could keep their team in the game.

    Ultimately, both quality starts and complete games have their place in baseball, showcasing a different aspect of the pitching game.

    Also ReadWhat is a Walk Off in Baseball?

    Does A Quality Start Always Result In A Win?

    At the heart of America’s favorite pastime is the pitcher’s ability to give his team a “quality start.”

    But does a quality start always result in a win? 

    It’s a question that has sparked much debate among baseball fans. After all, a quality start is defined as pitching at least six innings while allowing no more than three runs. It’s a solid performance, but it doesn’t guarantee victory.

    Baseball Game Play at Stadium
    Source: Wikimedia

    The rest of the team still needs to hit and play defense.

    Ultimately, a quality start can increase a team’s chances of winning. Still, it’s not a surefire recipe for success or game end.

    What is the average quality start in baseball?

    When measuring a starting pitcher’s effectiveness in baseball, the quality start statistic is often used. But what exactly is considered a quality start?

    A starting pitcher must pitch at least six innings to earn this designation and allow no more than three earned runs.

    It means the opposition isn’t running rampant on the pitcher, and the team has a fair chance of winning.

    However, just like any other statistic, the quality start can vary greatly depending on the team and the individual pitcher.

    What may be considered a quality outing for one pitcher may be viewed as subpar for another.

    Ultimately, the importance of the quality start lies in its ability to objectively measure a starting pitcher’s performance, even if it is just the tip of the iceberg when evaluating their contribution to their team.

    Criticism of the quality start statistic

    The quality start statistic has been criticized in the baseball community for years. While it was created to measure the effectiveness of starting pitchers, some argue that it doesn’t accurately represent their performance.

    Critics claim that a pitcher could technically have a quality start by giving up three runs in six innings. In comparison, another pitcher who only allows two runs in the same amount of time wouldn’t be credited with one.

    Additionally, some argue that the statistic doesn’t consider factors such as the quality of the opposing team’s hitters or the ballpark. Despite its flaws, the quality start remains a commonly used measure of success for starting pitchers.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Is the Quality Start Stat Over-Rated Now?

    No, the Quality Start statistic is not over-rated now. The quality start stat has been a useful tool for analysts since its inception in 1984 to measure the effectiveness of starting pitchers. While it does not provide an exact analysis of how well a pitcher performs on any given day, it can be used as an indicator to gain insight into their overall success.

    Can you lose a quality start after six innings?

    Yes, you can lose a quality start after six innings. A quality start is when a starting pitcher throws at least six innings and gives up three or fewer earned runs. It means that if a pitcher gives up four or more earned runs in the sixth inning, they will have lost their quality start.

    Do unearned runs count against a quality start?

    No, unearned runs do not count against a quality start.

    How is a Quality Start Different from ERA?

    A Quality Start is a metric used in baseball to measure the effectiveness of a pitcher’s performance. It assesses whether one or fewer earned runs were allowed over six or more innings pitched. On the other hand, ERA (Earned Run Average) measures how many earned runs a pitcher gives up per nine innings on average.

    What percent of quality starts are wins?

    The exact percentage of quality starts that result in wins can vary depending on the league, team, and pitcher; however, research indicates that typically around 20-25% of quality starts result in a win.

    Who has the most quality starts in MLB History?

    The pitcher with the most quality starts in MLB history is Greg Maddux, with 118. A “quality start” is a starting pitcher completing at least six innings while allowing three runs or fewer.

    What is a non quality start?

    A non-quality start in baseball is when a starting pitcher does not last at least six innings or gives up four or more runs.