Baseball Crank took full advantage of Baseball-Reference.com putting every box score since 1920 and every play since 1950 into a database, and he found and sorted the 188 pitchers who gave their teams a real chance to win with no more than ordinary offensive/bullpen support at least 100 times since the end of the dead-ball era.
First, I should explain that the official “quality start” (6 or more innings pitched, 3 or less earned runs) isn’t a real measure. You’re depending on 3 innings of pen work night after night, and your defense could easily cost the team any chance of winning because runs scored as a result of an error aren’t “earned”. Crank upped it to a 7-inning minimum and a 2-run (earned or otherwise) maximum, and renamed it “High Quality Start” to get things to at most the setup/closer and keep things close enough for the offensive half of the Earl Weaver Maxim to win it.
Some of the names on the list shouldn’t surprise Milwaukee fans – Warren Spahn (who has the highest number of wins off of HQS), Lew Burdette, Don Sutton (who has the most HQS), Jim Slaton and CC Sabathia. What is somewhat surprising is that Slaton is the only player who spent significant time with the Brewers; in fact, Slaton got 80 of his 100 HQS in Brewer Blue to lead the team.
A couple more Brewers’ notes: How special was the half-season Sabathia spent here in 2008? 10 of his 112 HQS came in the last part of 2008. Meanwhile, Yovanni Gallardo has 20 HQS in his 74 games started. While that ratio will get him onto the 100 HQS list eventually, he won’t get onto the rarified 200 HQS list unless he picks it up.