Baseball Stats for Beginners – Part Deux
Walks/Hits per Innings Pitched (WHIP)
This is one of the metrics I tend to look at first when evaluating a pitcher. It’s exactly as the name indicates: the number of walks and hits divided by the innings pitched.
Say in our example, Shelby gave up four hits and a walk in his six innings of work. Adding the hits and walks together, you’d get 5/6, which would equal 0.83 for his WHIP.
What’s a good WHIP?
Around a 1.25 or under is above average. Under 1.20 is very good, while under 1.10 is among the very best in the league. Anything under a 1.00 is pretty incredible.
Strikeouts/Walks Ratio (K/BB)
Again, this one’s pretty simple. It’s simply the ratio of a pitcher’s strikeouts to walks (base on balls) he’s permitted. Generally speaking, a K/BB of 3.0 or more is pretty good. Similarly, sometimes other ratios are used, such as K/9 (strikeouts per nine innings) and BB/9 (walks per nine innings). BB/9 can be used to measure a pitcher’s control. Greg Maddux, one of the greatest control pitchers ever, had a career BB/9 of 1.8.
Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP)
Now we’re getting into more advanced sabermetrics. Fielding-Independent Pitching is basically a measurement of a pitcher’s sums of home runs, walks, and strikeouts. These three results are commonly referred to as the “three true outcomes,” so if you ever hear that term, now you know!
Anyways, FIP takes those three true outcomes and combines them into a formula that creates a number similar to ERA. How’s it do that? I don’t know. Magic or something. Don’t ask me. But if you ever see FIP, just know that what counts as good for an ERA would count as equally good for FIP.
So yeah. That’s a decent starting point. A few other acronyms you may see:
GS – Games Started by a pitcher
CG – Complete Games. The amount of times a starting pitcher pitches every inning of a game. These used to be much more common; in 1968, Bob Gibson threw 28 complete games in 34 starts. Last year, Justin Verlander led the majors with a grand total of six.
SHO – SHutOuts. Pretty self-explanatory.
SV – SaVes. Saves are an interesting statistic. The vast majority of saves happen when the team’s closer pitches the ninth inning with a lead of no greater than three runs. BUT, this isn’t always the case. Let me see if I can explain it.
– Edward Mujica comes in in the ninth with the team leading 5-2, the Cardinals win by a score of 5-2. Mujica gets the save.
– Mujica comes in in the ninth with the team leading 6-2, the Cardinals win by a score of 6-2. Mujica DOESN’T get the save.
– Mujica comes in in the ninth with the team leading 6-2, but he runs into trouble and gives up two runs, but he still finishes the game and the Cardinals win 6-4. Mujica DOESN’T get the save, as he started the inning off without a save situation.
– Mujica comes in in the ninth with the team leading 6-2, but he runs into trouble and gives up two runs. Trevor Rosenthal comes in and finishes the game, and the Cardinals win 6-4. Because Rosenthal came in and closed out the game when the tying run was either on base, at bat, or on deck, Rosenthal gets the save.
– Mujica comes in in the seventh inning with the Cardinals winning 20-0. He pitches three innings and the Cardinals win 20-0. Regardless of score, because he pitched three innings and closed the game out and the Cardinals won, Mujica gets the save.
Makes sense, right?