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Can someone please explain to me what the statisitic "WHIP" means in the game of baseball?

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3 Answers 3

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The definition of WHIP or Walks plus Hits per Inning Pitched is the following per wikipedia:

 WHIP = (Walks + Hits)/(Innings Pitched)

Cautionary note: While Whip is a common statistic in fantasy baseball, its a rather poor tool for evaluating pitchers as it fails to account for something pitchers have little control over (BABIP)

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I agree it is a poor tool for evaluating in any given game. But over a season or 10+ games your better pitchers tend to have lower WHIP –  Chad Mar 15 '12 at 13:23
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@Chad this is true. However I've seen BABIP be seriously skewed for entire seasons... –  wax eagle Mar 15 '12 at 13:35
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you are much better off using FIP or xFIP to evaluate pitchers even over the course of a season. It attempts to account for the randomness that exists due to BABIP (and with xFIP home runs). –  wax eagle Mar 15 '12 at 13:43
    
For a team, league, or pitcher? –  Chad Mar 15 '12 at 13:45
    
WHIP is just another stat. you could have a WHIP < 1 and an ERA > 7 if all you give up are home runs. WHIP ERA and IP are the 3 stats that mean the most to me. K's are a great stat but if they do not come with a low WHIP ERA And IP then they dont mean anything. –  Chad Mar 15 '12 at 13:49
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In addition to the popular answer above, it's also useful to note that WHIP was originally conceived of as a statistic used to score pitchers in fantasy baseball.

So while WHIP is not widely used in sabremetrics communities to help rank the usefulness of pitchers, it is a useful statistic to understand in fantasy circles as well as use as an indicator of future ERA performance. Ex: Lower WHIP generally coincides with lower ERA. Since ERA is such an established stat (for legitimate reasons or not), WHIP can be used as a tool to forecast future performance of a pitcher's ERA.

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WHIP stands for "walks and hits (allowed) per inning pitched." It is a measure of the rate at which a pitcher allows opposing batters to get on base.

I don't quite agree with another answerer who says it's a "poor tool" to evaluate pitchers. The "walks" or W part of the equation are entirely under control of the pitchers. What the other person meant was that HITS aren't regarded as entirely under the control of pitchers, because of fielding issues.

There are two more items that define a pitcher. Strikeouts aren't explicitly included in the WHIP formula, but they feed indirectly into the "hits" part of the equation; the more strikeouts, the fewer opportunities for hits.

The last thing is home runs, (or other extra base hits). All other things equal, a pitcher with a lower WHIP than another will give up fewer runs, but a pitcher with a low WHIP and a high home run rate (e.g. the Pittsburgh Pirates' Edinson Volquez) might still give up a lot of runs.

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