If you’re a baseball fan, you probably are aware of how important statistics are to the game. A casual fan probably understands what most of the most popular statistics measure, but what about some of the more advanced statistics created to measure a players worth? In this article, we’ll look at a one of the slightly more advanced pitching statistics, what it means, and how it’s calculated.
WHIP (or “Walks plus Hits per Inning Pitched) is a statistic that is particularly popular with the fantasy and rotisserie baseball crowds. It represents the average number of base runners (walks and hits) a pitcher allows per inning pitched.
To calculate WHIP, use the following formula:
WHIP = (Walks + Hits) / Innings Pitched (IP)
WHIP is denoted as a number followed by a decimal point with two or three numbers after the decimal point (depending on how accurate you want to be). For example, a pitcher who walks 2 hitters and allows 7 hits in a nine-inning game has a WHIP of 1.000. In other words, the pitcher allowed an average of one base runner per inning pitched. A 1.000 WHIP is considered quite very good, and will more likely than not be among the league leaders. A whip under 1.250 or so is still quite good. Once a WHIP gets up in the 1.500 area or higher, a pitcher is going to start having trouble being successful on a consistent basis.
In 2005, Pedro Martinez of the New York Mets led the National League in WHIP of 0.949, meaning that he allowed less than one base runner per inning pitched. He allowed 159 hits and 47 walks in 217 innings pitched. Any time a pitcher has a WHIP under 1.000, you know you’re dealing with a top-notch pitcher. Martinez was the only National League pitcher with a WHIP under 1.000 in 2005. Roger Clemens finished second at 1.008 (still an impressive number).
Johan Santana of the Minnesota Twins led the American League in WHIP in 2005, with a 0.971 mark. He allowed 180 hits and 45 walks in 231.6 innings pitched. Santana was also the only pitcher in his league to finish with a WHIP under 1.000. Randy Johnson of the New York Yankees finished second at 1.126.
Pedro Martinez also owns the lowest single-season WHIP, with an amazing 0.737 mark in 2000. He allowed only 128 hits and 32 walks in 217 innings pitched. Martinez also ranks third in career WHIP among pitchers with over 1,000 innings pitched at 1.022. He ranks behind Hall of Fame pitchers Addie Joss (0.968) and Ed Walsh (1.000), both of whom pitched in the “dead ball era” between the turn of the century and World War I.