A Thing You May Not Know: What Is A Quality Start In Baseball?


Except for baseball lovers or enthusiasts, almost everyone may not know the exact answer when asked: “What is a quality start in baseball?”

Although it’s not a hard question, you need to know about the rules of this sport and can identify the roles of each team member. 

Let us show you a simpler way: read this article below and explore the answer without any sweat on your forehead.

What Is A Quality Start In Baseball?

Let us give you the definition of quality start in baseball.

Short answer: A quality start is a familiar term used in baseball. It is recorded when a pitcher completes at least six innings and allows a maximum of three earned runs. It is a good way to evaluate whether he did a great job and measure his performance rather than just the win-loss record.

John Lowe, a sportswriter for the Philadelphia Inquirer in the mid-1980s, invented this term. He also had several other words related to baseball: “tough losses” – to refer to situations when the pitchers had a good performance but got the loss, or “cheap wins” – to refer to non-quality ones in which they won.

What Is A Quality Start In Baseball

Source: Pixa Bay

Is A Quality Start A Good Statistic?

The answer is Yes. It is an official statistic in Major League Baseball. 

The intention is to measure the effectiveness of a pitcher’s work only, not to mention the whole match, which includes factors outside his control, such as his team’s defensive play and offensive output.

However, no data is perfect. There is always room for debate, anyway.

Some critics demand a change in the standard for the statistic, as “six innings with three runs” is not enough to represent the standard. If there are any less than six innings pitched, it would not be qualified, regardless of the times of allowed runs. 

It may be true; nevertheless, the standard currently stays the same. 

When we use a statistic for any analysis, there will always be limitations somehow. Regarding its scope of work, it still fulfills its responsibility of measuring the pitcher’s job: more outs, fewer runs. 

Why Is A Quality Start Relevant?

Sometimes, a pitcher has a good start but is eventually credited with a loss or vice versa. 

We can show you an example:

  • Person 1: complete 5 innings, allowing 5 earned runs. The team wins 8-5.
  • Person 2: complete 7 innings, allowing 2 earned runs. The team loses 2-1.

Definitely, person 2 had a quality start but received a loss.

We all know that person 2 gave his team a better chance to win with this achievement. However, he allowed more earned runs than the score his team could make during his pitching time.

On the other hand, person 1 failed to record a quality one but still received a win with the whole team.

Sometimes, it depends on one’s luck to receive a lot of run support or not from teammates. 

This statistic helps us focus on the performance of a starting pitcher’s job and understand how this part contributes to the game.

The Differences Between A Quality Start And A Complete Game

A Complete Game

It happens when a pitcher completes an entire match from beginning to finish without being out or replaced.

That means as long as a pitcher stays in the official match, even if external influences like bad weather shorten the match, he is still credited with a complete game. Or, in case an entire game has extra innings, and he is replaced in this section, he cannot achieve a complete game.

To simplify it, he needs to pitch for his team the whole game, no matter how many runs are earned.

The Differences

A pitcher only needs to complete six innings to record a quality start, while he has to finish the entire match to earn a complete game.

Then, a complete game has no limitation for earned runs.

Therefore, one can earn both records only if he pitches all innings and allows three earned runs or fewer.

Source: Pixa Bay

Can One Lose A Quality Start?

Yes. Everything can happen during the game.

Several things can affect the pitcher’s performance, like physical and mental health, that cause him to lose control, leading to poor performance.

A quality start requires at least six innings and no more than three earned runs. The pitcher doesn’t qualify for it if he fails to do so, like giving up four or more runs in an inning.

It is worth noting that losing it or not doesn’t affect the final result.


What Is The Average Quality Start?

On average, the start lasting six innings accounts for 63%, while the other lasts seven or even more. This ratio has been trending downward within the past five seasons because of the increased importance of players’ health, especially pitchers, so it is less popular for them to complete six full innings. 

Does A Quality Start Always Result In A Win?

No. If the pitcher achieves it, it allows his team a higher chance to win the game but not 100% of the possibility. It cannot be accused of whatever happens after he leaves.

The final result can be affected by many other causes, such as a lack of run support by the team or a surge in offense by the opponent. 

What Is An Ultra-Quality Start?

It is an unofficial baseball statistic to record the pitcher who completes seven full innings and allows no more than two earned runs. 


What is a quality start in baseball? We hope you have the expected answer and related information about it.

Please let us know if you have any other questions or queries about this topic. Here at https://honestyapps.com/, we will check and help you solve the problems as soon as possible. Thank you.

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