This post has the Giants Pure Quality Start scores for the month of September, as defined in Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster annual book and they published the details here. I wrote on this last season and compiled their stats on a regular basis and I'm continuing it this season for continuity and historical comparison (there is the "PQS" label that you can click to see the old posts on this).
This is the Quality Start with a sabermetric DIPS twist, and it gets really easy to calculate once you get used to it. I don't think it's the end all or be all, but then nothing really is that. It is, as I like to say, another piece of the puzzle. A dominating start is scored a 4 or 5 and a disaster start is scored a 0 or 1. DOM% is the percentage of starts that are dominating, DIS% is the percentage of starts that are disasters (any start under 5.0 IP is automatically a 0, or disaster).
Basically, you want to see a pitcher's DOM% to be over 40% and ideally over 50%, and you want their DIS to be under 20% and ideally under 10%. For example, Johan Santana has a 76% DOM and 3% DIS in 2006 (2.77 ERA), whereas Orlando Hernandez had a 52% DOM and 28% DIS (4.66 ERA), and Adam Eaton had a 31% DOM and 31% DIS (5.12 ERA). See my explanation down below on methodology plus read the link, there's a nice chart there showing the combination of high DOM% and low DIS%, and particularly how low DIS% is so important.
Giants Starters' PQS for 2007 Season (as of end of the 2007 season)
Travis Blackley - (0% DOM, 50% DIS; 0:1/2): 3,0
Matt Cain - (56% DOM, 19% DIS; 18:6/32): 4, 3, 5, 3, 3, 0, 3, 5, 5, 4, 4, 2, 5, 4, 1, 5, 3, 1, 0, 0, 5, 5, 4, 5, 4, 3, 5, 0, 3, 5, 4, 4
Kevin Correia - (63% DOM, 13% DIS; 5:1/8): 0, 4, 4, 5, 2, 3, 5, 5
Tim Lincecum - (67% DOM, 21% DIS; 16:5/24): 0, 5, 5, 4, 5, 3, 0, 0, 0, 5, 5, 4, 4, 5, 5, 4, 4, 3, 4, 5, 4, 0, 3, 4
Noah Lowry - (31% DOM, 19% DIS; 8:5/26): 5, 3, 4, 2, 2, 5, 3, 3, 3, 0, 3, 2, 4, 0, 2, 5, 4, 1, 4, 4, 2, 0, 2, 2, 3, 0
Pat Misch - (25% DOM, 25% DIS; 1:1/4): 3, 3, 4, 0
Matt Morris - ( 29% DOM, 19% DIS; 6:4/21): 3, 1, 4, 3, 2, 2, 3, 2, 5, 3, 3, 5, 4, 0, 2, 2, 3, 0, 0, 4, 4 (traded)
Russ Ortiz - ( 13% DOM, 25% DIS; 1:2/8): 2, 4, 2, 2, 0, 2, 3, 0 (DL: Tommy John)
Jonathan Sanchez - (25% DOM, 50% DIS; 1:2/4): 3, 4, 0, 0
Barry Zito - ( 39% DOM, 24% DIS; 13:8/33): 2, 3, 4, 3, 3, 3, 4, 2, 0, 3, 5, 4, 0, 3, 0, 3, 3, 0, 5, 2, 0, 3, 0, 4, 5, 4, 5, 5, 4, 4, 0, 1, 4
Giants season overall - 42% DOM, 22% DIS out of 162 games pitched (69:35/162)
Giants Month of April - 29% DOM, 4% DIS out of 24 games pitched (7:1/24)
Giants Month of May - 43% DOM, 18% DIS out of 28 games pitched (12:5/28)
Giants Month of June - 33% DOM, 30% DIS out of 28 games pitched (9:8/27)
Giants Month of July - 48% DOM, 32% DIS out of 25 games pitched (12:8/25)
Giants Month of August - 52% DOM, 16% DIS out of 25 games pitched (16:5/31)
Giants Month of September - 48% DOM, 30% DIS out of 27 games pitched (13:8/27)
After doing pretty well in April and May, then declining greatly in June and having a pretty mixed month of July, the Giants pitchers turned things around in August, on a collective level, then fell back to July's standards in September. Cain continued doing well with 3 DOM starts and Zito ended the month with 4 himself, but Lincecum was shut down after three starts, getting 1 DOM start. Correia was a full-time starter in September with 5 starts and 3 of them were DOM starts. Also, as a reminder, if he didn't get an automatic zero PQS for having under 5 IP in his first start - the Giants limited his innings since it was his first start in two years - he would have gotten a DOM for that start as well, it would have rated a 4 PQS had he gotten two more outs without damage.
Sanchez, Misch, and Blackly started as well during the month. Each had nicely pitched games, then the big disaster starts, bringing down the rotation's average for the month. For September, out of 8 DIS starts, the three of them were responsible for 4 of them (Zito was responsible for 2 of the others).
What's Good and What's Not
A DOM at or above the 40% mark is indicative of good pitching; above 50% is great; above 70% is elite. A low DIS is also indicative of good pitching, just look at the table in the link above showing DOM% and DIS% on the axes. Thus what Correia has done so far in limited starts is startingly good, that's why he is now in the mix for the #5 starting position for the 2008 season, as Sabean had noted in one of his post-season talks, along with Sanchez, who previously was the favorite for that spot; now it's a competition.
If you had to chose a high DOM% or a low DIS%, pitchers tend to have a lower ERA when you have a low DIS% vs. a high DOM% (obviously if you combine both, you have a much better chance of having an elite pitcher). That's how Lowry was able to pitch well last year, keeping his ERA low while still recovering from his strained oblique and being unable to strike out hitters as much as before, he had very few disaster starts until he had his arm problems and got bombed in September, he had a good ERA, in the high 3's until those starts.
The staff was led by Zito and Cain, who had 4 and 3 DOM starts, respectively, and one could have made the argument that Correia was the best pitcher in September as he had 3 DOM start and none DIS starts. Lincecum was shut down after three starts, so conceivably he could have had 1-2 more DOM starts. But that was OK, as it allowed Blackley, Misch, and Sanchez to get some starts in. Our starting rotation is suddenly overflowing, with Lincecum, Cain, Zito, Lowry, Sanchez, Misch, and Blackley looking like they can all start in the rotation for somebody (OK, Blackley not as much, but I think he did OK in two starts, which should be good enough to give him some value and projectibility for the majors).
Overflowing Pitching Rotation
Cain and Lincecum are clearly our future and Zito is starting to earn his huge contract: if they are all on in 2008, they could be the best 3-some in all of baseball, and could have a nice stretch together from 2008-2011. Lowry had pitched well enough to be in the top 20-29 in ERA in the NL from 2005-2007, which makes him #2 worthy in the NL, and he could be our #4 pitcher in 2008.
Correia had a great stretch of starts for us at the end of the season. He had been wanting to start and chomping at the bit for the past two years, because he wanted to start, not relieve. He clearly took his opportunity to start and ran with it. Counting the first start as a DOM, he would have had 6 DOM out of 8 starts with no DIS starts, which is a great stretch for anybody (75% DOM, 0% DIS). That is ace-type dominance if he could keep it up throughout a season and I think he pushed himself ahead of Sanchez for the #5 starting position for 2008, assuming no starters are traded away.
Focus on Pitching Starting to Pay Off
This is when the pitching focused strategy starts to pay off. Having so many will allow the Giants to consider trading off one or two out of Lowry, Sanchez, Misch, and Correia, to get young position players who could be part of our core from 2008 on. Sabean has said as much in his post-season conferences and interviews, that they will consider trading young pitching for .
Each year will bring more opportunities to trade off pitchers to get position players. It was rumored that the Mets was willing to trade Carlos Gomez, a young speedster for the Mets, straight up for Sanchez. The emergence of Misch and Correia as viable back of rotation starters, where teams don't really need even journeyman-like performance, makes Lowry and Sanchez expendable for the right price.
And that's what a lot of impatient Giants fans have not been getting, that we need to wait for the right package. We don't want to trade off Lowry or Sanchez just for any old position prospects, they are very good pitchers and we should get the right value for them. Just because the Giants probably won't compete next year doesn't mean that you go out and trade off pitching just for the heck of it. They have to wait for a team who really needs a starter, and then get top value for our pitchers we trade away. I don't see that happening before the 2008 season, but I think by June/July, teams will be clamoring for our starting pitchers in trade, that's when we will have leverage and can get top value for our pitching.
Other Teams Need Pitching
Look at the Brewers, don't you think that they are going to be dying for starting pitching for next season, particularly with Sheets frequently injured (and DLed) again this season. Maybe they'll be willing to trade off one of their good position player (or two) in order to get a great #2 starter like Lowry. Lowry is now an established starter with good to great performances all through his career. That should be worth at least two good position prospects - guys with potential - versus getting a known hitter.
The Mets need pitching too. So maybe the Mets would give up Gomez and Milledge for Lowry, just for a thought: one who had done well in his limited time up (Gomez) plus one who has great potential, but not capturing it in the majors (Milledge). That wouldn't be a bad haul for Lowry, though this is not probable because the Giants have so many OF prospects as it is.
And if no one bites, then we have a great rotation overall, plus the flowover will make the bullpen that much better, and better in 2008 than 2007, particularly with the loss of Benitez and additions of Wilson and Walker. Quality pitching will raise the bar for our pitching staff, and improve how they perform in 2008 versus 2007 collectively. And that will improve the team, even if the offense probably sucks again in 2008.
Rebuilding not only takes time, but it takes patience so that you don't throw away any advantage you have - as the Giants do in starting pitching right now - by just doing a knee jerk reaction just to do something, show something to the impatient fans. You don't build championship teams by always reacting to fan sentiment for action. You have to build as fast as the market allows you, and sometimes that's slow. Look at the Brewers, they have been building up to this over a 12 year period, in ernest around 8 years now.
Stupid trades can hurt more than not making a trade, which is something some fans forget. It is like trying to catch one of the huge fishes of the sea, you don't reel him in immediately when you feel the tug, you have to work it in order to catch the fish, else you risk losing it, you must exercise patience, knowing that it is just part of the process towards your ultimate goal. You can't just jump in and fix everything just like that.