One of the most crucial statistics in baseball is the ERA, or earned run average. It offers insight into a pitcher’s performance and serves as a useful tool for pitcher comparison. But what is ERA and how is it determined? Read on to find out!


  • Earned Run Average (ERA) is a baseball abbreviation. It is a statistic that gauges how many earned runs a pitcher surrenders for every nine innings pitched.
  • The number of innings pitched and the total number of earned runs that a pitcher has given up are taken into account to calculate ERA.
  • In the event that runs are earned, the pitcher is to blame or accountable, assuming the defense plays effectively.
  • Unearned runs are those that would not have been scored but for a passing error by the defense or a defensive play.

What Does ERA Mean in Baseball?

Earned run average is the acronym.

It refers to the typical number of runs a pitcher surrenders over the course of nine innings.

The statistic excludes runs brought on by errors or by balls passed inadvertently.

The earned run average is therefore frequently used by teams and fans to assess a pitcher’s ability.

Because it encapsulates exactly what a pitcher is trying to avoid, the ERA is the preferred statistic to use when assessing a pitcher.

The objective of a pitcher is to retire as many opponents as possible.

The hitter shouldn’t score a run by hitting the ball, in their opinion.

They also don’t want the hitter to take a walk.

As a result, it’s a useful statistic for describing a pitcher’s effectiveness.

How Do You Calculate a Pitcher’s ERA Stat?

The ERA stat for a pitcher is comparatively simple to calculate.

Number of earned runs and innings pitched are the stats you’ll need to run the formula.

You’ll take those numbers and plug them into the following formula:

(earned runs × 9) ÷ innings pitched

The basic formula is to multiply their total earned runs by nine.

After that, divide that result by the total number of innings pitched.

You will then be provided with a pitcher’s ERA statistic.

Earned Runs Vs. Unearned Runs

ERA is a statistic that is specific to pitchers on an individual basis, but there is no denying that the defense of the team can have a significant impact on it. ERA accounts for this by only including “Earned” runs and removing “Unearned” runs from the evaluation.

Earned Runs

In the event that runs are earned, the pitcher is to blame or accountable, assuming the defense plays effectively. These include runs scored by players who left bases loaded after being removed from the game, which was permitted by the aforementioned pitcher.

Unearned Runs

Unearned runs are those that would not have scored but for an error by the defense (including the pitcher) or a passed ball.

Depending on what happens while the runner is on the base paths, potential runs can go from being earned to being unearned and vice versa in a number of complex scenarios. As an example:

The next batter is given a walk as a first baseman moves to second on a passed ball. Since the runner would have been at second base anyway, the passed ball no longer affects the earned/unearned calculation. In contrast, a batter or runner may complete all of his base-running without committing an error, but the run would still be considered unearned if the third run was prevented by an error.

Is ERA An Accurate Way to Measure a Pitcher’s Skill?

While ERA can give you a good idea of how many runs a pitcher allows to occur, it doesn’t always tell the whole story.

As such, when estimating a pitcher’s skills, it’s important to consider a few other stats alongside it.

Here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t always use ERA as your primary or only metric when assessing a pitcher’s abilities.

1. Counts Defensive Mistakes

The ERA includes other players’ on-field defensive errors, which is one of the reasons it isn’t always an accurate reflection of a pitcher’s skill level.

The error counts as long as it isn’t classified as such.

This means that a pitcher isn’t always to blame for an earned run.

The pitcher’s defense may have failed to throw the ball quickly enough to prevent the player from scoring, even though they may not have succeeded in getting the player to strike out.

As a result, the ERA can distinguish between pitchers with excellent defense and those with subpar defense.

It’s always worthwhile to look at the defense’s statistics to prevent this.

If the defense’s statistics are strong, the ERA may also be affected.

The ERA can also be impacted by poor stats.

Because it takes into account errors by the defense, the ERA isn’t always a great metric to compare pitchers by.

2. Great Defensive Plays Do Not Count

Great defensive plays are not taken into account when calculating the ERA, which is another issue.

earned run average (ERA)

The effectiveness of the pitcher’s subsequent defense coordination to prevent runs from being scored is not evaluated.

A pitcher’s and the defense’s efforts to stop runs from scoring are not included either.

As a result, while the ERA may describe how many runs the pitcher permitted to occur, it does not reflect their proficiency in base running once those runs have been scored.

In essence, the ERA statistic doesn’t provide a complete picture of a pitcher’s capabilities.

3. Stadium Differences

When determining a pitcher’s ERA, the venue can also have an impact.

Runs simply come more naturally to some stadiums than others.

The layout of the stadium might be to blame.

Even the fans could be to blame.

For instance, pitchers who aren’t pitching at their home stadium aren’t used to throwing pitches in a different location.

Additionally, the yelling supporters of the opposition in the stands put more pressure on them.

An ERA may experience physical or psychological effects from stadium stressors.

As a result, when evaluating a pitcher’s ERA statistic, teams and fans should also take the pitcher’s home venue into account.

4. Quality of Hitters

Another reason why ERA isn’t always the best statistic to gauge a pitcher’s ability is the caliber of hitters.

Comparing pitchers from various leagues demonstrates how true this is in particular.

In contrast to the other league, one league might have a season with many outstanding hitters.

When two pitchers are up against hitters of a higher caliber than the other, it is not always the best method to compare them.

They are facing players who can hit or walk well, so their ERA will inevitably be lower.

Their ERA might be similar if that pitcher played in the same league as the other pitcher.

A pitcher’s ERA may be impacted by the caliber of the opposing batters.

5. Relief Pitchers

Finally, if a pitcher is a reliever, ERA may not be a very accurate measure of that pitcher’s ability.

It’s common for relief pitchers to only play a few innings before being replaced by the starting pitcher.

Although some may be able to play an entire inning, their only goal is to relieve the starting pitcher.

But relief pitchers are also given an ERA.

Their ERA may suffer as a result of their typical single-minded focus on getting outs.

They have fewer opportunities to raise their score as a result of playing less frequently.

The number of innings pitched by starting pitchers increases the number of runs they must either prevent or cause.

Relief pitchers typically have lower ERA ratings because they pitch less frequently.

Despite the fact that they might be excellent pitchers, their ERA suffers because of their sparse playing time.


What is a Good ERA in Baseball?

Baseball typically has a good ERA between 2.00 and 3.00.

Approximately 4.00 is the ERA for baseball.

As a result, if a pitcher can lower their ERA to below 4.00, they are regarded as a great pitcher.

A pitcher is extremely skilled and talented if they can lower their ERA to 2.00.

A 2.00 ERA is extremely uncommon.

Anything below a 2.00 is essentially legendary.

A pitcher who ranks among the best has an ERA under 2.00.

Is a Higher Or Lower ERA Better?

In baseball, a lower ERA is preferable.

You risk being fired or demoted to the minor leagues if your earned run average (ERA) is 5.00 or higher.

If a pitcher’s ERA is 5.00, it means that too many runs are being scored by the pitcher.

They appear unable to stop the opposing team from scoring, according to this indication.

That usually means they’re giving the opposing team a better chance to win.

Your talent increases as your ERA decreases.

It means that you were able to strike out more players than you allowed them to score a run.

How is ERA Different for a Starter Vs. Reliever?

In an article by famed baseball writer and statistician Bill James, he explains that “Due to the fact that he frequently starts an inning with one or two outs, a relief pitcher unquestionably has a lower ERA than a starter.”

Another factor that affects relievers and closers’ advantage is that they frequently have to produce far fewer outs than a starting pitcher, which reduces scoring opportunities. As a result, their success in one inning is extrapolated to nine, just like a starting pitcher’s performance, which lasts over five to seven innings.

Who Has the Best ERA in Baseball?

The baseball player with the lowest ERA is Ed Walsh.

Walsh’s ERA was 1.816.

Walsh was a legendary pitcher, as evidenced by the fact that his ERA was under 2.00.

Addie Joss comes in second.

Joss had an ERA of 1.887.

Jim Devlin comes in third place.

His overall rating is 1.896.

The top baseball pitchers all had ERA ratings below 2.00, so that much was obvious.

Given how challenging it is to do, it proves that these pitchers possessed exceptional talent.

What is the Average ERA in MLB?

MLB pitchers have ERAs that range from 4.00 to 5.00.

The norm is for a pitcher to be released or demoted to the Minor Leagues when their ERA rises to 5.

Additionally, it follows that a pitcher is regarded as above average if their ERA is less than 4.00.

How Can You Improve Your ERA?

If you’re a pitcher and want to raise your earned run average, you might be wondering what you should do.

It’s a good idea to increase your ERA as much as you can because many people base their judgment on these stats when evaluating a pitcher’s ability.

Here are some suggestions for raising your ERA stat.

1. Improve Your Understanding of the Hitters

You need to do some research to develop into a great pitcher with a great ERA.

Thus, prior to the game, you must familiarize yourself with your opponents’ hitters.

Knowing their tactics is useful.

Do they favor walking or striking?

Knowing their preferences will help you develop a plan of action to get them out rather than giving them what they want.

You can lower your ERA by being aware of the hitters you’re facing.

2. Practice Pitching at the Stadium

How well you pitch occasionally depends on the stadium.

Make every effort to get out on the field and practice some throws so that the stadium won’t have an impact on how well you perform.

You can make sure it won’t affect your game when it matters once you get a sense of how the stadium affects your throws.

3. Increase Accuracy

It’s possible that increasing accuracy is among the most crucial things a pitcher can do.

You can make the hitter decide quickly if you can get the ball where you want it to go.

Do they attempt to strike it or do they allow it to pass by?

You can throw some incredible pitches that hitters have no idea how to handle by combining accuracy and speed.

You consequently raise your ERA.

Can You Have a Zero ERA?

You might be shocked to learn that over 90% of runs in baseball are earned. Undeserved runs are comparatively uncommon. The ERA scores are higher than you might initially think as a result of this earned run metric.

Despite the fact that players can have a zero ERA, this rarely reflects their skill. Undefined or infinite ERAs are other names for zero ERAs.

Zero ERAs are typically announced at the start of a season before complete game statistics are available. Since they did not record any outs, a pitcher will technically have a zero ERA if they give up one or more earned runs without retiring a batter. An ERA of zero has never been maintained by a pitcher for an entire season.


Earned Run Average is a statistic that many teams and fans use to assess a pitcher’s level of talent.

The ERA, however, can sometimes be influenced by elements that don’t always favor the pitcher fairly.

Fortunately, there are a few ways for pitchers to lower their ERA ratings.


Is a 7.00 ERA Good?

In 21st century baseball, an ERA below 4.00 is considered good, and anything below 3.00 is great. A pitcher is considered to be exceptional if their ERA falls below 2.00. Anything over 5.00 is terrible, and typically, pitchers with that ERA are either sent to the minor leagues or forced to pitch in routs.

What is a Good ERA in Baseball?

An ERA below 2.00 is exceptional and uncommon in modern baseball. An ERA between 2.00 and 3.00 is also considered excellent and is only achieved by the best pitchers in the league. The above-average ERA ranges from 3.00 to 4.00.

Who Has the Best ERA in Baseball 2022?

J. Verlander

MLB Stat Leaders 2022