Your Grab and Go Sprots Terms Glossary
ERA (eeee-arrrrr-ehhhh). This stat can be stupidly complicated. Sprots isn’t down with that, so here’s your just-the-tip explanation of earned run average.
Let’s breakdown the acronym, first.
R for Run: When a player has touched first, second, third, and home (safely), a run is scored. Notice, I said a RUN is scored, not a point. Don’t be that guy.
E for Earned: A run is earned as long as the player is not scoring due to an error or passed ball. This is where things start to get hairy-it is safe for the average viewer to go ahead and assume all runs are earned runs. An earned run negatively impacts the pitcher who let the runner on base. This sounds obvious, but it isn’t.
If Michael Brantley hits a home run off of Danny Duffy, that is one earned run against Duffy. If 4 different Indians players hit singles off of Danny Duffy and one scores, that is an earned run against Duffy. If Jason Kipnis hits a triple off of Duffy, then Ned Yost decides to bring in Kelvin Herrera to pitch and Kelvin Herrera gives up a single to Yan Gomes that scores Jason Kipnis, that is an earned run against….Danny Duffy. Understand? No? As soon as a player gets on base while Duffy is pitching, he is “responsible” for that run, no matter what pitcher lets the guy on base score, until the inning is over. Want to play again? Kipnis hit a triple off of Duffy, Herrera comes in, Gomes hits a home run off of Herrera, where do the earned runs go? One for Duffy (Kipnis) and one for Herrera (Gomes). Now that the player Duffy was responsible has scored, no other runs this inning will count against Duffy, they will all be Herrera’s until he gets taken out. Earned runs can be messier than your car after a spring break road trip.
A for Average: ERA is the average runs given up by a pitcher for every 9 innings they have pitched. If you care to figure it by hand, it’s earned runs allowed, divided by innings pitched, times nine or you could just Google it like a normal human being.
Normal starting pitcher ERAs are in the high 3 region. These will be your good, but not superstar starters. Edinson Volquez has a 3.62 ERA at the moment. Pitchers in the high 2’s and low 3’s are very good. Using your fancy ERA knowledge, you know that a high 2 or low 3 means they are only giving up about 3 runs per game, giving their team a very good chance to win. Johnny Cueto currently sits at 3.43. Your mid to low 2 guys are rock stars. Everybody wants them and only a few teams get them. There are only five major league pitchers in this category right now. Five. Lastly, you have the demi-gods that boast an ERA below 2. This is next to impossible to achieve. Zack Greinke and Jake Arrieta are the only two starting pitchers wearing this badge of glory. Not to name drop, but Arrieta went to TCU (my alma mater) and has three complete games and two shut outs to go with his minuscule ERA. He’s a freak of nature. Go frogs.
Well, just like a guy texting you to Netflix and chill, I lied to you. This was complicated. Sadly, this really is just the tip. You can call ERA the Ron Jeremy of baseball.