Brett Oberholtzer: Quality Start Machine


Life on a losing team is hard for everyone. The manager, the coaching staff. And of course, the players. But when does Brett Oberholtzer get the win that he deserves?

Baseball is not a game of karma. Pitchers can do their job well and often not even get a winning decision.

Remember Henderson Alvarez last season? He had a no-hitter through 9 innings against the Detroit Tigers. Luckily for him the Miami Marlins were able to load the bases and score on a walk-off wild pitch.

Now, Brett Oberholtzer is not pitching THAT well. Wednesday’s game against the Minnesota Twins saw him cross the 100 Innings Pitched threshold for his 2014 campaign in the major leagues. Since he had been essentially the 26th man on the roster this season, he has not received the praise of Dallas Keuchel.

Collin McHugh and Brett Oberholtzer are somewhat riding the same ship. McHugh spent the beginning of this season in the minor leagues before becoming an anchor in the Houston Astros rotation. Oberholtzer, however, had two bad starts that led to his demotion to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Prior to that point Oberholtzer had already compiled a win-loss record of 0-6 in 7 starts. At the time his 4.76 mark in the ERA statistic was not really all that bad. But a few starts cost him.

From mid-May to mid-July, Brett served as a spot-starter. Since the pair of starts in which he allowed 6 earned runs, Oberholtzer has pitched 11 games of at least 6.0 innings. Overall Brett has a win-loss record of 4-8 with a 3.87 Earned Run Average.

That stretch of 11 starts has been very impressive. The only thing missing is some wins. Brett, again similar with McHugh, simply has not had much run support this season. Sometimes the bullpen has also come in and either lost the lead or made a deficit worse.

The last 11 starts Oberholtzer has thrown 9 quality starts*. Whether or not you agree with the requirements of this statistic, 9 quality starts of 11 is a pretty good outcome.

*(A Quality Start, by definition, is a minimum of 6.0 IP and 3 ER or fewer.)

Oberholtzer is living up to his potential. On a better team he may serve as a back-of-the-rotation guy. But on the team that the Houston Astros are, he is in the discussion for the top three arms. McHugh and Keuchel are the two that I would consider as well. Each of these three men pitch relatively deep into baseball games, limit their walks and home runs allowed and are usually efficient on a consistent basis.