Not that baseball needs another new statistic...
A Quality Start (QS) is credited to a starting pitcher who pitches at least 6 innings and allows 3 or fewer earned runs. There were 2,344 quality starts in the Major Leagues in 2009. A full 49% of all games started were credited as quality starts.
It would seem that for an event to be called "quality", it ought to happen quite a bit less than half of the time. This would be like calling a quality at bat anytime you got a hit, a walk, or hit the ball hard. There is some truth to that, but what is real quality?
I came up with a new, as easy to compute statistic which I call a Real Quality Start (RQS). To get an RQS, a pitcher must allow fewer base runners than innings pitched. Simple. In a mathematical formula it's equally simple:
There were 946 Real Quality Starts in the majors last season - only 20% of all games started. Comparing the two stats side-by-side, you can see that RQS is a much more stringent test of true quality:
|% all starts||49%||20%|
|W (by SP)||1293||631|
|L (by SP)||389||86|
The Major League leaders in RQS last season were:
|Randy Wolf (FA) ||LAD||11|
|Carl Pavano (FA) ||Cle||9|
|Jarrod Washburn (FA) ||Sea||8|
|Rich Harden (FA) ||ChC||8|
|Jason Marquis (FA) ||Col||7|
|John Lackey (FA) ||LAA||7|
|Jorge De La Rosa||Col||7|
Noticeably absent from this list are any Milwaukee Brewers - and noticeably present are a number of free agent who the Brewers are rumored to have some interest in. Look how far down the list John Lackey is - and how many other free agents are above him. The more of this stuff I see, the more I think Lackey is going to be a Suppan-esque albatross for whoever signs him.
I was a little surprised that the Brewers declined Bradon Looper's option. Looper actually tied for second on the team with 4 RQS:
What that chart really shows though is just how pitiful the Brewers' pitching was in 2009.