Baseball Sabermetrics: Introduction to Magnum Start Value (MSV)

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Apr 9, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Jose Quintana pitches against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 9, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Jose Quintana pitches against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Continuing with baseball sabermetrics formulas, this article introduces a new formula for starting pitchers. How should a start be truly judged?

As some of you may remember last year I introduced a pair of sabermetric formulas. While they may have quantified a voluminous amount of data, each focused on only one aspect of the game, that being the hitter. If you recall, both RBI and Home Run Decimal looked specifically the power department, however it is time for me to expand my analysis. The next stat you will see, called Magnum Start Value (MSV) centers around the quality of a start a pitcher has.

Magnum Start Value was created for one purpose, that being to replace the term “Quality Start.” The idea of awarding a pitcher with a quality start after he gives up three earned runs in six innings pitched is ludicrous, mostly due to the fact that countless losses occur each year with that exact line (6 IP, 3 ER).

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So, how does a pitcher qualify for a Magnum Start (the shortened term for MSV)? Well, it is significantly more difficult than picking up a Quality Start. In order to be considered, a starter must go at least seven innings. That is step one. Step two is to only give up two earned runs, unlike three in the aforementioned Quality Start. The third and most fluid is the fact that one can be lost instantly. A hurler loses a Magnum Start the second he gives up a third run, even if the third crosses the plate with one out to go in the ninth inning.

Now, let’s get to the meat and potatoes of Magnum Start Value, the formula which quantifies the stat itself. You will notice a major difference when reading MSV, the most obvious one being a significant reduction in variables. A total of five compose MSV (eight including outcomes), and it is about time to introduce them to you.

(a) 1.213

*(1) 7 to 7.2 IP: 2.5

(x) Add 0.5 if pitcher gives up nine or less BB+H

Multiply (a) into total if (x) occurs in 7.2 IP

*(2) 8 to 8.2 IP: 4.75

(y) Add 0.75 if pitcher gives up 10 or less BB+H

Multiply (a) into total if (y) occurs in 8.2 IP

*(3) Complete game: 6.5

(z) add 1.5 if pitchers gives up 11 or less BB+H

Multiply (a) into total if (z) occurs.

E: 1.345 (this aspect of the formula is calculated irregardless)

*These are designated as outcomes, which combine the distance a pitcher goes in a start along with only allowing two earned runs. No hurler can throw less than the allotted innings and qualify for a Magnum Start.

All of you are probably wondering what the purpose of variables ‘a’ and ‘e’ are, not to mention their value. For ‘a’ it is quite simple, since a pitcher should be rewarded for recording two outs in an inning and not giving up a third run, his MSV score should increase (can still lose Magnum Start later). Variable ‘a’ should be used in all situations the aforementioned formula designates, however ‘e’ is a bit trickier.

Variable ‘e’ is more complex for one reason, that being it calculates errors into the equation. In order to do this, I am going to have to explain variables’ x’ through ‘z’ first. The purpose of each is to usher in WHIP, which can be used to show how many men the pitcher is allowing to reach base by his accord (BB+H).

In order to prevent variables’ x’ through ‘z’ from becoming irrelevant to the formula, errors must be involved. The way to do this is simple, place a value above one (1.345) on variable ‘e’, then multiply it by amount of errors in a start.  Here is where you may become confused. Once calculated, you subtract variable ‘e’ from the BB+H total in the game. Even if a hurler allows equal to or less than the allotted variable says in a start, he still qualifies for an addition from the “outcome” department.

Here is a guide for the amount of BB+H total you can exceed in regards to errors in a start.

Errors/Start

1:1

2:2

3:4

4:5

5:6

6:8

Just to clarify one major portion of MSV, variable ‘a’ does not get multiplied into anything until outcomes one through three are calculated with x, y, and z. As I referenced above ‘e’ is subtracted from the BB+H total, however it must reduce the amount equal to or below the allotted number the formula designates.

Now, there are still two more aspects of MSV to discuss, that being Magnum Start Average (MSA) and Magnum to Quality Start Ratio. MSA is a bit tricky, as it is calculated by adding up a pitchers’ MSV from all starts, even it he doesn’t qualify for a Magnum Start. Then, you divide the total number by the amount of starts he made.

As for Magnum to Quality Start Ratio, it is quite simple. Add up all Magnum Starts, as well as all Quality Starts which is a statistic that has a significant amount of information available online. Then divide Quality Starts by Magnum Starts, unless there are none of one or either. Feel free to break down any of these stats however you so choose (i.e. over month, half, season/s).

Next: Jose Quintana Finally Gets Run Support

All in all, there will be a decent amount of studies performed before any updates can be made. This will be a process, therefore expect a great deal of fluctuation in many of the results. While there will be many trials and tribulations, the end goal is to find a formula that can identify which pitchers truly do dominate the competition. Stick around, as you will be seeing a lot more of this stat in the coming months.

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