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ERA qualification/the future of starting pitching

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  • ERA qualification/the future of starting pitching

    This is a topic I've been thinking about a lot lately; and well .... this seems like the most appropriate section to put it in.

    With starting pitchers in the current era pitching fewer innings/making fewer starts (due to some teams using 6 man rotations and doing bullpen games, etc, is it time we re-think the qualification standards for Earned Run Average? (it's always been 1 inning pitched per team game; which comes out to 162 games for a full season; with adjustments made for strike years of 72/81/94/95).

    In 2021, only 37 pitchers pitched 162 or more innings; thus a smaller pool of qualified ERA pitchers. And what does this all say about the future of starting pitching?
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  • #2
    Good topic. I do think the qualification should be adjusted to allow for more modern-day starters to qualify.

    On a related non-ERA note, I think starters should no longer be required to get 15 outs to qualify for a win.
    Put it in the books.

    Comment


    • #3
      The easiest change would be to simply lower the threshold of IP from 1 IP per team game to 1 IP per a high percentage (90?) of team games. Setting it to 90% of team games would set a minimum of 145.8 IP–round it up to 146. It would be a direct reflection of the decline of IP by starters over time. (Someone do the math on how many more pitchers would be qualified for an ERA title just this year with that change.)

      The one hurdle I could see this running into is the trend of most managers using the cringeworthy million-pitchers-a-game strategy we're seeing some do already.
      They don’t think it be like it is, but it do.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by milladrive View Post
        Good topic. I do think the qualification should be adjusted to allow for more modern-day starters to qualify.

        On a related non-ERA note, I think starters should no longer be required to get 15 outs to qualify for a win.
        I would simply rather see better statistics used in the first place. (Let's not prop up the win, though milladrive's point is sound.)

        To the OP's question, yes, I suspect that the innings requirement to qualify for the ERA title will be lowered at some point, as we continue to see fewer annual qualifiers. That said, I think that's still a ways off in the future.

        While it would "throw off" tradition for fans of all ages, wouldn't ERA be better off expressed in terms of earned runs per inning, instead of per nine? Particularly as the vast majority of pitchers in MLB aren't pitching anywhere close to half the innings in a game per pitching appearance?

        If we're sticking with the per-9 IP metric, then let's at least separate starter and reliever ERAs for the purpose of looking at ERA+ because let me tell you, a starter with 200 innings and 30 starts who has a 120 ERA+ is a vastly different pitcher than a reliever with 70 innings and a 120 ERA+. I'm not talking volume-wise, either. That reliever's ERA isn't truly 20 above league average in the sense that reliever ERAs are (on average) substantively better and comparing them to starter ERAs isn't terribly useful.
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        "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
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        • #5
          I would not change the ERA qualifications at all. It is a very, very low threshold which has been historically easy to reach. If starting pitchers are so weak that they cannot average 5 innings per their start every 5 days, they do not deserve to qualify for leading the league in ERA. If they can't reach that mark, they are effectively long relievers who are just coming in during the first inning.
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          • #6
            Originally posted by Toledo Inquisition View Post
            I would not change the ERA qualifications at all. It is a very, very low threshold which has been historically easy to reach. If starting pitchers are so weak that they cannot average 5 innings per their start every 5 days, they do not deserve to qualify for leading the league in ERA. If they can't reach that mark, they are effectively long relievers who are just coming in during the first inning.
            The starter is effectively finished as a position. They’re long relievers opening the game. The only reason teams don’t use one pitcher per inning is because they don’t have enough roster spots. It is considered sound strategy to pull the starter as soon as possible. Announcing the starters is redundant. They barely even pitch the second half of games. They aren’t clutch players… hell they aren’t even considered reliable, period. Aren’t on the field when the stakes are the highest. Charlie Morton has thrown 14 innings in 3 games and he’s the ace of the N.L. pennant winner. Games aren’t won in the 4th inning.
            "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Chadwick View Post
              I would simply rather see better statistics used in the first place. (Let's not prop up the win, though milladrive's point is sound.)
              Better stats like what? We have wins, losses, holds, blown holds, saves and blown saves. My fantasy league has been giving out points for holds for almost a decade. You have a better idea than those numbers? You want a hypothetical, adjusted number rather than an accurate historical record of the outcome of a pitchers appearance, I assume?
              "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

              Comment

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