Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Baseball Stats: Wins vs. Quality Starts

A few weeks ago, we had a rather interesting discussion in the Dear Mr. Fantasy Podcast Facebook group about the use of wins vs. quality starts as fantasy baseball stats.

It began with an outing from Jon Lester.

Lester went 7 innings, allowed seven hits, surrendered one earned run, and struck out 12 White Sox. Unfortunately for Lester, Koji Uehara had a rare off night and blew the lead and while the Red Sox would eventually win the game, Lester did not earn a win for his personal record.

While it didn’t come up, Lester’s previous start produced similar luck. There, he went 8 innings, allowed five hits, surrendered no walks or earned runs, and struck out 7 Orioles hitters. The Red Sox also won the game but like the one against Chicago, it came after Lester had exited.

While the debate got interesting, no new ground was broken in any of the arguments.

  • “You can allow six runs over five and still get a win.”
  • “You can go nine innings and allow no earned runs and get a no decision, or even a loss.”
  • “You can go six innings, allow 10 hits, walk four guys, allow three runs, and still get a quality start.”

We can debate the meaning and significance of different fantasy baseball stats all we want but again, no new ground has really been broken.

During the offseason, I went over the value of wins in fantasy baseball  from 2009-2013. Basically, what I did was take the Top-10 and ties in wins and looked at their overall numbers. Then, I took the Next-10 and ties and looked at their overall numbers. Lastly, I compared the Top-10 vs. the Next-10 on a year-by-year basis.

But today, there are a few problems with all of that.

  1. I researched 2009-2013. Even though the results were pretty consistent, that doesn’t necessarily translate to 2014. Of course then, I didn’t have 2014 numbers to use. I do now, with more than half of the season.
  2. Even if we assume the numbers in 2014 will show similar things that 2009-2013 did in relation to wins, I didn’t do any number crunching in relation to quality starts.

Well, today we fix both of those wrongs. Noting that these numbers are accurate through the All-Star break and do not note any subsequent starts, is there a discrepancy? What do the overall numbers of Top-10 in quality starts look like compared to the next 10? What about wins?

I’d like to add that this research is just done to show numbers. If you want to read opinions on players or the value of certain fantasy baseball stats over others, we have literally hundreds of other pieces to read. In fantasy baseball, nothing outranks the numbers, so that’s all we’re looking at today.

Before we go over the stats, let’s be sure there’s no confusion.

  • To Earn a Win: A starter must complete five innings and leave with the lead. His team must never surrender that lead for the remainder of the game.
  • To Earn a Quality Start: A starter must both complete six innings and allow no more than three earned runs.

I’m pretty sure you all knew that, but I do want to be sure there’s no confusion. Lastly, with both quality starts and wins, the Top-10 was only 10 pitchers, while the Next-10 included ties. So, take whatever biases in terms of bigger vs. smaller innings counts that you’d like into account.

Now, what do those numbers show? Let’s go ahead and begin with quality starts.

2014, Top 10 vs. Next 10 Quality Starts

Top 1012948.22.581.05
Next 10 (Plus Ties)2641.

What about wins?

Top 10 vs. Next 10 Wins

Top 101229.28.62.531.07
Next 10 (Plus Ties)1333.27.63.321.20


Tags: MLB Quality Starts Starting Pitchers WINS

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