In the world of analytical tools and sabermetrics at the Major League Baseball level, baseball has become a sport of analysis. Back in the early days, all that players, coaches, and managers had to measure player effectiveness were raw numbers and nothing else. Then came stats like ERA and WHIP to mean what sets players apart in baseball.
Thus with the help of WHIP, Walks, and Hits per Innings Pitched, other fanatics can see their pitchers’ records. The number of innings pitched, walks and strikeouts, home runs, and ERA(most popular) are along with WHIP. Other stats are easy to get, but WHIP needs some explanation for most.
So all you fledgling baseball fanatics, I am here to give you that extra help. So read on and hope your fantasy baseball team gets the win.
The Origin of Innings Pitched Ratio aka WHIP
For Billy Beane to have created the division league champion teams, he needed a lot of help from statistical tools. But, reading his success in Moneyball, other teams have also started employing sabermetrics in the draft picking. So the question is, where did some of these metrics come from.
In this case of WHIP, it came from the minds of a bloody fantasy baseball player. In 1979, Danial Okrent, a writer, coined the term innings pitched ratio, which later became WHIP. Actually, he created this sabermetric to measure a pitcher’s performance.
What does WHIP mean in Baseball?
The main point of this article is this: If you’ve ever wondered what the term “WHIP” in baseball means, you’ve come to the right place. WHIP is an abbreviation for “Walks Hits Per Inning.” Pitched indicates how many walks and hits a pitcher gives up per inning. The primary responsibility of a pitcher is to prevent any hitter from reaching base.
Pitchers with a lower WHIP are usually the best on their team or in their league. However, you should not consider the WHIP because it has some flaws, such as treating all ways a batter reaches base as equal.
However, batsmen hits, errors, and hitters reaching via fielder’s choice do not count against a pitcher’s WHIP.
What does WHIP mean in Baseball by failing?
WHIP is one excellent statistical tool; it isn’t perfect. In particular, One place it fails to account for is how a baserunner got on base. As a result, WHIP falls in recording hit batters, errors, and intentional walks.
An excellent example of WHIP failing is seeing a hitter walking like a batter hitting a double.
Let’s start to see the video.
For a better understanding, we need to learn how WHIP is calculated.
How a Pitcher’s WHIP is calculated?
To be honest, WHIP is one of my favorites since it’s so easy to calculate. All WHIP requires is adding up the Base on Balls(BB) or walks with the Hits allowed(H) and dividing the number with total Innings Pitched(IP).
Here is an easy to see interpretation:
WHIP = (BB + H)/IP
Now that you learned what the formula looks like, let’s put it to the test.
Let’s see if Bob, our imaginary pitcher, had a good season. Bob gave out 55 walks while getting 215 good cracked hits and pitched a total of 210 innings. Adding up the BB and H, we get 270 and divide it with the 215 IP. We get a WHIP of 1.28. Good job, Bob.
What does a Good WHIP mean in Baseball?
If we want to understand if Bob did good or not, we need to set a benchmark. Presently WHIP is a stat that changes with each pitch, so be prepared for the WHIP to go up and down for your favorite pitcher.
A pitcher with a higher WHIP won’t be winning any games. But, on the other hand, a WHIP with a low ERA doesn’t come around often.
According to Fangraphs, from 1901 to now in 2022, we have a solid understanding of a good and bad WHIP.
Using the chart above, we can see that Bob, with his WHIP of 1.28, is above average in the MLB standard.
All-Time Best WHIP
Below I have compiled, with the help of baseball reference, a table that shows the best WHIP record baseball history. Some of the records in the table are out of this world!
The Best WHIP
All-Time Worst WHIP
Just like good WHIP, there is also bad WHIP. Below is a table showing MLB’s all-time worst WHIP. There are many players included here from MLB teams such as New York Yankees and Boston Red Soxs.
The Worst WHIP
ERA vs. WHIP in baseball
You should have figured out what does WHIP mean in baseball but how does it connect with other sabermetrics, baseball stats, in general. In this section we will be looking at another baseball stat ERA and how it differs from WHIP in baseball.
ERA (Earned Run Average):
- Calculation: ERA calculates the average number of earned runs a pitcher allows per nine innings pitched.
- Focus: ERA primarily focuses on a pitcher’s ability to prevent earned runs and evaluate their overall effectiveness in preventing opponents from scoring.
- Contextual Factors: ERA takes into account factors like fielding errors, unearned runs, and runs inherited from relief pitchers.
- Comparison: ERA allows for comparisons between pitchers’ performances and serves as a standard statistic to assess pitching effectiveness.
- Lower is Better: In ERA, a lower score indicates better performance, as it signifies a pitcher’s ability to limit earned runs.
WHIP (Walks plus Hits per Inning Pitched):
- Calculation: WHIP measures the total number of walks and hits allowed by a pitcher per inning pitched.
- Focus: WHIP primarily focuses on a pitcher’s ability to control the base runners and prevent opponents from reaching base.
- Contextual Factors: WHIP does not consider factors like fielding errors or unearned runs, as it solely focuses on walks and hits.
- Comparison: WHIP enables comparisons between pitchers in terms of their ability to limit baserunners and prevent scoring opportunities.
- Lower is Better: Similar to ERA, a lower WHIP indicates better performance, as it signifies a pitcher’s efficiency in preventing walks and hits.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
Why might WHIP not be reliable in baseball?
Sure, WHIP is a good stat to look at when you are trying to find a good pitcher for your team, but you shouldn’t only rely on it. One of the problems with WHIP is that it doesn’t factor in how a baserunner reached a base. The pitcher sees all baserunners as equal, so a walk is the same as a home run or a double for the pitcher. As such, don’t just look at the WHIP but mix it with all the other pitchers’ stats like ERA, shutouts, etc.
Can someone have a WHIP of 1.20?
A career WHIP of 1.20 is quite impressive, and sure, someone could get it, but it’s highly unlikely. In youth leagues, maybe, but even then, it’s kind of hard. However, due to player quality and salaries, it is impossible at the MLB level. At this moment, the lowest WHIP recorded is 1.816.
Should I look at youth baseball pitchers WHIP?
Yes, you should look at the WHIP stat of youth baseball players because those are the ones that you need to scout. Youth players progress to the minor leagues, then the major leagues. So by checking out youth pitchers’ statistics such as WHIP and ERA, you will be able to scout some future pros.
The mordern baseball era is putting a lot of emphsis on sabermetrics such as ERA and WHIP. Now that you have a solid understanding of what does WHIP mean in baseball and its key points you should have a better understanding of the game.