A stat on the (not so) quality start

I just wanted to share something one of my editors shared with me recently, which expresses just how silly the “quality start” stat is.

The minimum requirement for a quality start is six innings and three earned runs, which comes out to a 4.50 ERA. Not very good (or, quality). In fact, it’s not even the league average. Not even close.

This year — “Year of the Pitcher II,” I should preface — the Major League average in ERA is 3.89. Last year,  it was 4.07. And in 2001 — when Barry Bonds broke the home-run record and offensive production was at its peak — it was 4.41.

Now, of course, there is something to be said about pitching into the sixth and giving up less than three runs in each start, and the leaders in quality starts this year are all legit aces — Justin Verlander (24), Jered Weaver (23), Roy Halladay, Dan Haren, Matt Cain, Cole Hamels, James Shields and Justin Masterson (tied with 20).

But it’s definitely not an end-all be-all by any means.

— Alden

* Filed this week: LoMo good for the game in milder doses; congratulations, apologies owed to Thome; baseball is family affair for the Valentins.

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