Baseball Stats for Beginners – Part Deux
May 2013 21

Why, hello there.

In part one of this series, I talked about a few of the stat lines for hitting, so I thought in part two, I’d talk about my favorite aspect of the game: pitching. Again, please note this isn’t meant to be an all-encompassing breakdown of sabermetrics; rather, just an intro to a few of the stats I use when talking about a pitcher’s effectiveness. Now, pitching has its share of sabermetrics and such, but a lot of them aren’t generally used by anyone but the most advanced websites and publications, so this entry may not be as long.

Again, if you can figure out what player’s statistics are in the cover of this story, I’ll give you free…something.

Earned Run Average (ERA)

Other than wins, this is by far the most widely used metric that people use when determining a pitcher’s effectiveness, but it may be a little confusing. “3.52 ERA…is that good?”

Let’s say Shelby Miller has a solid outing in his next start and gives up two earned runs (we’ll discuss earned runs when we talk about fielding) in six innings. Not too shabby. ERA is a measurement of how many earned runs a pitcher gives up every nine innings of work. So since he gave up two runs in six innings, you would divide 2/6 and then multiply by nine, giving him a tidy ERA of 3.00

What’s a good ERA?

Generally speaking, if a pitcher’s ERA is under 4.00, it’s pretty good. Under 3.50 is very good. Any starting pitcher with an ERA under 3.00 is likely one of the best pitchers in the league, and anything under 2.00 pretty much puts the pitcher in contention for a Cy Young.

Quality Start (QS)

A lot of people aren’t big on the quality start statistic, but it’s at least a starting point. Basically, if a pitcher goes six or more innings and gives up three or fewer earned runs, it’s a quality start.


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