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8/17/1978 (38 y, 6 m, 9 d)
2000 June Amateur Draft - Round: 2, Pick: 27, Overall: 67, Team: Houston Astros
$12M / 2 Years (2016 - 2017)
Qualls is completely healthy heading into spring training, although there's no guarantee that he'll stick on the major league roster out of spring training, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports. (2/16/2017)
Sunday Notes: Jays' Harris, Irish Conlon, Quirky R»
David Laurila (FanGraphs)
Rockies Playing Time Battles: Pitchers
Blake Murphy (RotoGraphs)
MASH Report (6/29/15)
Jeff Zimmerman (RotoGraphs)
The Boys of Summer
Scott Spratt (RotoGraphs)
Bullpen Report: March 24, 2014
Benjamin Pasinkoff (RotoGraphs)
(Click Year to Expand /
Year in Review:
Although he missed the final month of the season, Qualls recorded a career-high 24 saves in 29 opportunities (83% success rate). On the downside, he blew 19 saves in 33 opportunities between 2006 and 2008 (42% success rate). The right-hander has never walked a lot of batters, but he improved his command significantly in '09 with a walk rate of 1.21 BB/9. Qualls also does a nice job of keeping the ball on the ground. His ground-ball rate was 57% last year. He's strictly a two-pitch pitcher (fastball, slider) but his slider has lost effectiveness each of the past two seasons. Qualls struggled against lefties (.298 average) because he lacks a weapon to get them out on a consistent basis.
The Year Ahead:
An ugly injury to Qualls' knee ended his season prematurely in September. He underwent surgery on the tendon that holds his knee cap in place but is expected to be healthy by the start of spring training. Regardless, don't overreact if he starts the season off a little slowly. Qualls has a good opportunity to record the bulk of Arizona's saves in 2010 and he'll be a free agent after the season. You should be concerned if his slider continues to regress. Rookie Daniel Schlereth was the closer-in-waiting, but he was flipped to Detroit in the Curtis Granderson three-way deal with New York (AL) and Detroit. The Diamondbacks currently lack a future closer option. (Marc Hulet)
In 2010 Chad Qualls experienced by far his worst year in the Majors, allowing a 7.32 ERA between two teams. His peripheral numbers suggest he's better than that, and the jump in his walk rate further suggests that 2010 was a fluke. The walk rate combined with a .399 BABIP suggests he had a hard time finding his spots, so he could certainly return to his earlier rates of production. When he's on he's a ground-ball pitcher who can strike out a decent number of batters. Chances are, though, that he'll fill more of a middle-relief role in 2011, so his value will be very limited. (Joe Pawlikowski)
The Quick Opinion:
While Chad Qualls is almost certainly better than his 2010 indicated, he might not get a chance to close games in 2011. Since he's not a particularly high-strikeout reliever, that limits his value.
Qualls knocked nearly four full runs off his ERA last season despite relatively unchanged peripherals thanks to roughly 100 points of bad luck on balls in play. He could rack up a nice number of holds and maybe even steal the occasional save, but the ERA and strikeout rate just aren't good enough to make him rosterable. (Mike Axisa)
Chad Qualls has been mock-worthy for a while. It's true. But there was a bad knee injury, suffered in 2009, that altered his mechanics and may have led to some of those terrible, terrible years. Last year, he went back to his early-career mechanics and let the ball fly. The result was more velocity on both his sinker and slider, as well as a return to the elite ground-ball and walk rates of his early career. Can he close for the Astros without a pitch he can use against lefties? That might depend on the health of Jesse Crain's shoulder. Because if Jesse Crain isn't healthy, the Astros will probably take 2/3 of a closer over no closer. And that's what they had last year once Jose Veras left town. (
The Quick Opinion:
Qualls' career splits are non-existent, but Qualls has the arsenal of a ROOGY. It won't matter to the Astros if Jesse Crain isn't healthy to start the year -- there's nobody else that can really close for them other than the veteran.
As Fangraphs contributor August Fagerstrom
pointed out earlier this offseason
,no pitcher has appeared in more games over the last decade than Chad Qualls. The 36-year-old righty acquitted himself well in 2014, posting the second best xFIP of his career (narrowly surpassed by his 2009 in Arizona). Qualls operated as Houston's closer occasionally, too, notching 19 saves. Always stingy with free passes, the Astros reliever's 2.4% walk rate was the best he's ever posted. While he seems unlikely to repeat that number, his skills appear relatively stable. His biggest roadblock to fantasy value is Houston's newfound infatuation with signing relievers to big league deals (e.g., Luke Gregerson and Pat Neshek). He'll likely be in a spring competition for a ninth inning job, but will warrant consideration if he can lock it down. (
The Quick Opinion:
After a career of relative mediocrity, Qualls' 2014 was arguably his best big league season and it came at 36. If he can keep his fastball velocity in the low-mid 90's and continue to suppress walks, he probably still has a few good years left. However, he'll need to win the closer gig to have any standard league value on a Houston club that projects to be only marginally better than terrible in 2015.
Qualls' strong ground ball rate, solid strikeout marks, and great command say that he has all the tools to be a very successful relief pitcher. He's always had a chronically inflated home run per fly ball rate, however, and that has led to a ballooned ERA, especially in the later stages of his career. He simply seems as if he is the unfortunate type of pitcher who usually underperforms his fielding independent pitching stats, and maybe that's okay: even with a 2015 drop in velocity (his trademark sinker was over a mph slower than in 2014), his batted-ball profile and solid peripherals make him an omnipresent member of the back end of bullpens. In 2016, he'll likely assume the same role he has in years past, bouncing between the seventh and ninth innings and providing solid -- if unspectacular -- work. (Owen Watson)
The Quick Opinion:
After providing part time work as the Astros closer for the past two seasons -- and not doing much to hold the job -- Qualls moves to a new look Rockies bullpen in 2016. He'll slot in near the back end (providing value mainly in holds leagues), probably chipping in with a few saves here and there until Adam Ottavino returns from Tommy John rehab.
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Updated: Sunday, February 26, 2017 3:34 AM ET
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