Chad Qualls

Chad Michael Qualls (born August 17, 1978) is an American former professional baseball pitcher. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Houston Astros, Arizona Diamondbacks, Tampa Bay Rays, San Diego Padres, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, Miami Marlins, and Colorado Rockies.

Chad Qualls
Qualls with the Houston Astros in 2014
Born: (1978-08-17) August 17, 1978
Lomita, California, U.S.
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
July 22, 2004, for the Houston Astros
Last MLB appearance
June 27, 2017, for the Colorado Rockies
MLB statistics
Win–loss record52–48
Earned run average3.89

Baseball career

Amateur career

Qualls attended Narbonne High School in Harbor City, California, Los Angeles Harbor College (LAHC) in Wilmington, California, and the University of Nevada-Reno in Reno, Nevada.

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.[1]

In 2000, Qualls anchored the Wolf Pack's starting rotation with Darrell Rasner and Matt Rainer.[2] Qualls pitched seven complete games for the Wolf Pack.[3]

Qualls (left) with Dan Wheeler and Brad Lidge.

Houston Astros

Qualls was drafted in the second round of the 2000 Major League Baseball Draft by the Houston Astros.[4] 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.[5] 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.[4] Qualls served a three-game suspension for throwing a baseball into the stands.[6]

Arizona Diamondbacks

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.[7]

Qualls signed a $2.54 million contract with the Diamondbacks for the 2009 season.[8] 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.[9] 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.[9]

Qualls signed a one-year contract with the Diamondbacks for the 2010 season worth $4.185 million.[9] However, he struggled with the Diamondbacks that season, pitching to an 8.29 ERA with 12 saves.[10]

Tampa Bay Rays

On July 31, 2010, Qualls was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays for a player to be named later.[10] He pitched in 27 games for them with a 5.57 ERA.

San Diego Padres

Qualls in 2011

Qualls signed with the Padres for the 2011 season and a $6 million team option for 2012.[11] He finished the 2011 season with a 6–8 record and 3.51 ERA in a team-high 77 appearances.[12]

Philadelphia Phillies

Qualls with the Phillies in 2012

Qualls signed a $1.15 million, one-year contract with the Philadelphia Phillies on January 31, 2012.[12] On April 4, he was named to the opening day roster.[13] He began the year as the primary set-up reliever to closer Jonathan Papelbon.[14] With the Phillies, Qualls pitched to a 4.60 ERA in 35 games.[15]

New York Yankees

On July 1, 2012, Qualls was traded to the New York Yankees from the Phillies for a player to be named or cash.[16] He replaced the struggling Cory Wade in the bullpen, as Wade was demoted to the minor leagues.[15]

Pittsburgh Pirates

On July 31, 2012, Qualls was traded from the Yankees to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Casey McGehee.[17]

Miami Marlins

On Friday, January 25, 2013, Chad Qualls reportedly agreed to a minor league deal with the Miami Marlins.[18]

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."

The video[19] quickly made the rounds via Twitter and other social media and made the front page of web sites including CBS Sports, Deadspin, SI, and The Big Lead.[20]

Second stint with Astros

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.[21] On November 3, 2015, the Astros declined their 2016 option on Qualls, making him a free agent.[22] He was the last member of the 2005 World Series team to play for the Astros (or any other team for that matter).

Colorado Rockies

On December 8, 2015, Qualls signed a two-year, $6 million contract with the Colorado Rockies.[23] He was designated for assignment on June 30, 2017,[24] and released five days later.

Pitching style

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.[25]


  1. "Fullerton's Oborn and Little Named Big West Players of Year". Los Angeles Times. 1999-05-19. Retrieved 2012-07-03.
  2. Eubanks, Lon (2000-05-05). "Resurgent Nevada to Clash With Titans for Big West Lead". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-07-03.
  3. Santoro, Joe (May 11, 2008). "Howe's complete-game effort helps Pack split a pair". Reno Gazette.
  4. "Kurkjian: He's Chad, not Brad". October 21, 2005. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  5. "Qualls does his part, but errors doom Express".
  6. "MLB upholds 3-game suspension of Astros' Qualls". July 16, 2007. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  7. "Chad Qualls 2010 MLB Pitching and Statistics". Retrieved 2012-07-03.
  8. "D'Backs Sign Qualls to One-Year Deal". Retrieved 2012-07-03.
  9. "Qualls Agrees to One-Year Contract with D'Backs". 2010-01-19. Retrieved 2012-07-03.
  10. "Rays complete trade for D-backs' Qualls". Retrieved 2012-07-03.
  11. "Right-handed reliever Chad Qualls joins Padres bullpen with one-year contract | News". Retrieved 2012-07-03.
  12. "Phillies sign reliever Qualls to one-year deal". 31 January 2012. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  13. Gallen, Pat. "Phillies Sign Reliever Qualls". Retrieved July 1, 2012.
  14. . June 28, 2012 {{cite news}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. William Perlman/The Star-Ledger (2011-11-01). "Chad Qualls steps in as Yankees demote Cory Wade". Retrieved 2012-07-03.
  16. "Yankees Acquire Reliever Qualls". CBS New York. July 2012. Retrieved July 1, 2012.
  17. Dierkes, Tim (July 31, 2012). "Pirates, Yankees Swap McGehee, Qualls".
  18. "Marlins reportedly sign reliever Chad Qualls",
  19. "video". Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  20. Hutchins, Andy (31 July 2013). "Chad Qualls Celebrates Like A Marlin Should". Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  21. Astros, Houston. "#Astros officially sign RHP Chad Qualls to a two-year contract with a club option for 2016. Qualls pitched for Houston from 2004-07". Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  22. Gleeman, Aaron (November 3, 2015). "Astros decline 2016 option on Chad Qualls". Retrieved November 3, 2015.
  23. Todd, Jeff (December 8, 2015). "Rockies sign Chad Qualls". MLBTradeRumors. Retrieved December 8, 2015.
  24. "Transactions". Colorado Rockies. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  25. "PITCHf/x Player Card: Chad Qualls". Retrieved April 26, 2012.
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