10 Pitchers Who Are a Guaranteed Quality Start

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10 Pitchers Who Are a Guaranteed Quality Start
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
Jered Weaver stabilizes the Los Angeles Angels rotation with his remarkable consistency.

For an MLB fan, there's no sight more comforting than that of a pitcher who's a guaranteed quality start stepping to the mound. This is someone who seemingly always has an adequate performance, thus taking the pressure off his teammates.

Just to ensure that we're all on the same page, the minimum requirements for a quality start (QS) are six innings pitched and three earned runs. Baseball writer John Lowe, formerly of the Philadelphia Inquirer, gets credit for defining the phrase (ESPN Insider subscription required).

Although major league run scoring rose during the steroid era, it has since regressed to mid-1980s levels. Lowe coined the phrase in 1985, so the stat is now as applicable as ever. Baseball-Reference.com illustrates this trend (look at R/G).

The quality start is based on results rather than performance. It cares not about the number of baserunners allowed, pitches used or swings-and-misses generated, but simply whether or not a starter gives acceptable length while preventing the opposition from "breaking the game open."

Of course, pitchers cannot consistently earn a QS every turn of the rotation without talent. Those included on the following list have plenty of that, and it should come as no surprise that most are past or present Cy Young Award contenders.

 

*Statistics provided by Baseball-Reference.com, unless otherwise noted. Updated through Sept. 11.

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