Qualls with the Houston Astros in 2014
Born: August 17, 1978|
|July 22, 2004, for the Houston Astros|
|MLB statistics |
(through 2017 season)
|Earned run average||3.89|
Chad Michael Qualls (born August 17, 1978) is an American professional baseball pitcher who is a free agent. He has played in Major League Baseball for the Houston Astros, Arizona Diamondbacks, Tampa Bay Rays, San Diego Padres, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, Miami Marlins, and Colorado Rockies.
After pitching for LAHC, he was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 52nd round of the 1997 MLB Draft, but he did not sign. He transferred to the University of Nevada, where he played college baseball for the Nevada Wolf Pack's baseball team, competing in the Big West Conference of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division I. He was named to the Big West Conference's second team in 1999.
Qualls was drafted in the second round of the 2000 Major League Baseball Draft by the Houston Astros. He began his career as a starting pitcher with the Michigan Battle Cats of the Class A Midwest League during the 2001 season. In 2002 and 2003, he pitched for the Round Rock Express, which competed in the Class AA Texas League. He was converted to relief during the 2004 season while with the New Orleans Zephyrs of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League.
Qualls made his major league debut with Astros on July 22, 2004. He pitched the next three seasons for the Astros. He recorded six saves and a 3.39 earned run average (ERA). Qualls joined with Dan Wheeler and Brad Lidge to form a strong bullpen, as the Astros reached the 2005 World Series. Qualls served a three-game suspension for throwing a baseball into the stands.
On December 14, 2007, the Astros traded Qualls to the Arizona Diamondbacks, along with Chris Burke and Juan Gutiérrez, for José Valverde. Qualls replaced Brandon Lyon as the closer for the Diamondbacks in mid-September 2008 after Lyon struggled in the second half of the season. He became one of four pitchers who pitched in at least 70 games every season from 2004 through 2008.
Qualls signed a $2.54 million contract with the Diamondbacks for the 2009 season. He became their closer at the start of the 2009 season. For the year, he recorded a 2-2 win-loss record, a 3.63 ERA, and 24 saves in 29 opportunities. On August 30, 2009, he suffered a patellar dislocation on the final play of a winning effort against the Astros. He required surgery and missed the rest of the season.
Qualls signed a one-year contract with the Diamondbacks for the 2010 season worth $4.185 million. However, he struggled with the Diamondbacks that season, pitching to an 8.29 ERA with 12 saves.
Qualls signed a $1.15 million, one-year contract with the Philadelphia Phillies on January 31, 2012. On April 4, he was named to the opening day roster. He began the year as the primary set-up reliever to closer Jonathan Papelbon. With the Phillies, Qualls pitched to a 4.60 ERA in 35 games.
On July 1, 2012, Qualls was traded to the New York Yankees from the Phillies for a player to be named or cash. He replaced the struggling Cory Wade in the bullpen, as Wade was demoted to the minor leagues.
On Friday, January 25, 2013, Chad Qualls reportedly agreed to a minor league deal with the Miami Marlins.
Following a game on Tuesday, July 30, 2013, between the Marlins and Mets, Qualls became an overnight social media viral sensation. Qualls punctuated his scoreless 7th inning stint in which he walked one, allowed one hit, and struck out two, with an attempted fist pump as he ran towards the dugout. Leaving the mound after strike-three against the Mets' Omar Quintanilla, Qualls punched the air in celebration as he headed toward the dugout. As he threw the punch, he snagged his right cleat in the grass and his own forward momentum sent him tumbling to the ground. Qualls was uninjured and bounced up quickly and continued to the dugout, where he covered his face in a towel and laughed with teammates."As soon as I saw the fist pump I put my head down," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "That's one of those if you win that game, you can watch it. But since we lost it's not quite as funny."
On December 7, 2013, Qualls signed a two-year contract, with an option for 2016, to return to the Houston Astros. His return to the team marked the first time an Astro played two separate stints as both a National and an American League franchise. On November 3, 2015, the Astros declined their 2016 option on Qualls, making him a free agent.
Qualls throws two main pitches: a heavy sinker in the low-to-mid 90s, and a hard slider in the mid-to-upper 80s. He typically uses the sinker to get ahead in the count and the slider to get strikeouts. He also occasionally uses a changeup against left-handed hitters.