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Quality Starts

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Think about last year watching the Twins pitching staff. What comes to mind right away? 1. Injuries 2. What are we going to get from Liriano tonight? 3. Who? 4. OMG!!! Capps is coming in!! 5. Our 3rd catcher is showing us how to pitch?

Every start was a circus it seemed. The only positives all year on the Twins pitching staff was Jared Burton, Glenn Perkins, Scott Diamond. Liam Hendriks had the chance of all chances, he started 16 games and got 1 win, 5 quality starts. At the beginning of last year, I honestly thought we had a chance to be competitive. Liriano was going to be the X factor, what happened was Gibson out, Baker out, Pavano out, Liriano traded. This lead to people we have never heard of going out there and starting games. If you don't get quality starts it doesn't help putting anyone on ease. Joe Mauer had a good year, he had to learn these guys coming in to pitch. He had to teach these guys things. He had it tough, I give him credit for those things, and having a great comeback season.

So far this year the Twins are 7-7, 5/14 in quality starts for the rotation so far. 35% of the starts have been "quality". This is without Scott Diamond who last year had 60% of his starts "quality". The rest of our rotation moving to a new league/new team.

Mike Pelfrey in 2011 had 45% of his starts as "quality". Kevin Correia in 2012 had 57% of his starts "quality". Vance Worley in 2012 had 56% of his starts quality starts. I am guessing Kyle Gibson will be our 5th starter soon this year, which you go down the line and puts you in a much better position to win games. Quality start, good offense, quality relief pitching gives you a good chance to win games. The San Fransisco Giants won the world series last year, 57% of the starts by the starting rotation were quality starts. Compare that to the Minnesota Twins (38%). Giants won 58% of there games, Twins won 40% of there games. I just want to put things in perspective around baseball records and quality starts. Then, look at how much our rotation has a chance to keep the Twins above .500.

All Division winners

Nationals 59%, won 60%
Reds 60%, won 60%
Giants 57%, won 58%
Yankees 50%, won 58% (3rd in MLB in runs scored)
Tigers 55%, won 54%
A's 55%, won 58%
All Division last place teams
Boston 44%, won 42%
Minnesota 38%, won 40%
Seattle 55%, (Vargas/Felix), won 46% (27th in the MLB runs scored)
Miami 56%, won 42% (29th in the MLB runs scored)
Houston 45%, won 34%
Colorado doesn't count
San Diego 46%, won 47%

There are a few exceptions which make sense, Seattle couldn't score runs, had Vargas and King Felix who always put up quality starts, you have Miami, who had good starting pitching, had team issues and couldn't score runs. Reality is it is pretty close to compare QS to overall record. As I watch the Twins this season so far, I have a lot more confidence when our pitchers go out there that they can last more than 3,4, 5 innings. I want to give some extra hope to the season, as we are 14 games in, and the Twins are still relative. If you go with the premise that QS = Win %, this is what our top 4 starters would give us this year.

Between Pelfrey in 2011, Worley, Diamond, Correia in 2012 60/111 starts were quality. 54% Detroit won the central last year winning 54% of there games. Just saying, sometimes it is hard to find hope with the Minnesota Twins projections, but watching some of the starts by our rotation is giving me some hope.
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  1. Joe A. Preusser's Avatar
    Nice article, interesting correlation. I have to say, I am shocked that the best QS% of any team was just 60%. I would have thought it be closer to 80%, but apparently I have not been paying close enough attention.
  2. Anorthagen's Avatar
    I always like to read a article that is positive about the Twins.
  3. John Bonnes's Avatar
    I'm really surprised the correlation seems to be this close. Thanks for putting this out there. I'd be very interested in a more extensive study. Is there a site someplace that lists how many quality starts each team had last year and the year before?
  4. rogrulz30's Avatar
    I got the data from ESPN Minnesota Twins 2012 Pitching Statistics - ESPN, sort by team/year. I just did the math on my own. Obviously games started, and QS. I was curious the other day remembering watching every game last year on how I would just hope we get through 5, and then this year how much more innings our starters have the potential of throwing. Makes the hope for twins winning much better. I was very surprised doing the math it turned out the way it did, I have to admit I was getting tired, so I only did about half the teams.
    Updated 04-22-2013 at 06:07 PM by rogrulz30
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