Baseball Sabermetrics: MSV In Honor of Mark Buehrle

CHICAGO - MAY 30: Starting pitcher Mark Buehrle
CHICAGO - MAY 30: Starting pitcher Mark Buehrle /

White Sox to retire Mark Buehrle’s number 56 on Saturday. How is the fan favorite judged by Magnum Start Value?

In honor of the White Sox retiring Mark Buehrle’s number this Saturday, it makes sense to perform a study involving Magnum Start Value and the former Sox lefty. Since he was a member of the 2005 World Series Championship team, that will serve as part one of my analysis (Buehrle’s ’05 season). Second, I will compare his results with Chris Sale and Jose Quintana, which you will find by clicking on this link.

Just as in the prior study, it makes sense to evaluate Buehrle on his best month (involving six starts), which I did with Sale and Quintana. Since he dominated the month of May 2005, let’s break down every outing that month.

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5/3 vs Kansas City Royals: 8 IP, 8 H, 0 BB, 4 ER: DNQ (W, Sox win 5-4)

5/8 @ Toronto Blue Jays: 7.1 IP, 9 H, 2 BB’s, 2 ER: 2.5 (W, Sox win 5-4)

5/13 vs Baltimore Orioles: 8 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 3 ER: DNQ (W Sox win 5-3)

5/18 vs Texas Rangers: 7.1 IP, 9 H, 0 BB’s, 0 ER: 2.5 (W, Sox win 7-0)

5/24 @ Los Angeles Angels: 9 IP, 4 H, 2 BB’s, 1 ER: 6.5* (ND, Sox win 2-1)

5/30 vs Los Angeles Angels: 8.1 IP, 9 H, 1 BB, 3 ER: DNQ (ND, Sox win 5-4)

Monthly Magnum Total (MMT): 11.5

Monthly Magnum Average (MMA): 1.92

*Did not complete game due to the fact that it went 11 innings however he went the full nine, therefore he gets credit for one regardless.

When comparing him to Sale, Buehrle simply does not match up. The current Red Sox lefty produced an 18.75 MMT, not to mention a 3.13 MMA in a month where he failed to fan less than ten batters in each start. Meanwhile, Buehrle is much closer to the numbers of Quintana. They are comparable pitchers both in style and results, which can be seen by Quintana’s MMT of 13, MMA of 2.17. Those scores are in the neighborhood of what Buehrle posted, which can be seen above.

Another area Buehrle is comparable to Quintana is poor defense by his teammates. In the month of May alone, he allowed three unearned runs in six outings. That equals 0.5 per start, and it didn’t occur in May alone. Seventeen gift runs crossed home plate for the 2005 regular season, or 0.52 every time he took the bump (33 starts).

If you want to get into the MSV vs quality start debate, Buehrle proved that recording the latter is worthwhile but with a catch. Unlike the traditional QS (6 IP, 3 ER), Buehrle did not complete less than 7.1 innings in any of the outings I just studied (only one without a QS). That makes this argument a bit difficult, as Buehrle’s solid outings would be more along the lines of a “High Quality Start.” That is what he will be remembered for, being a very good pitcher. He doesn’t have the ability to dominate the way Sale does (which very few in history do), but had longevity that most hurlers could only dream of.

All in all, Buehrle will go down as one of the best, not to mention unluckiest pitchers in White Sox history. Looking at his 2005 campaign doesn’t do justice to how little help he got from his teammates at times, both at the plate and in the field. He may have been the White Sox most reliable starter for a decade as well, throwing more than 200 innings from 2001 to 2011 (also continued this streak until 2014).

Next: Jose Quintana Gets More Run Support

Ready for number 56 to be retired, Sox fans? Enjoy the weather on Saturday!