What Is Whip In Baseball?

If you’ve found yourself watching a baseball game recently, you will have noticed that each time a pitcher approaches the field, the term ‘WHIP’, will appear on the screen. But what does WHIP stand for?

This is one of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to baseball, but it’s actually pretty simple to explain. 

In order to evaluate pitchers, various different statistics are put in place. The most common statistic being the WHIP. In order to find out more about this statistical evaluation and how it works, simply keep reading below to find out more. 

What Is Whip In Baseball?

What Does Whip Stand For? 

So let’s just jump straight in and answer the question at hand, what exactly does WHIP stand for? Essentially, WHIP stands for ‘walks and hits per innings pitched’.

Just understanding the acronym itself can help to give us a clearer picture of what exactly it means. 

WHIP will help to tell you how many walks and hits a specific player has given up. You’re able to then evaluate how likely that player is to give up a run. But why is this such a helpful statistic in baseball?

There are so many other ways of evaluating players, so why does the WHIP system appear to be so prevalent? 

This brings us on to our next point. 

The Point Of WHIP 

Essentially, as we all know, the purpose of baseball is to prevent the opposing team from scoring runs. The more runs that the pitcher is able to prevent, the better for their team.

This is then calculated to show how many walks and hits divided by the innings pitched. 

The Calculation For Determining WHIP 

In order to calculate what a specific player’s WHIP is, there is a simple formula that can be applied. 

You essentially take the number of walks that a pitcher has surrendered, then simply divide it by the number of innings that were pitched. This will then give you the overall WHIP of the player. 

WHIP is therefore a general indicator of a pitcher’s success, and can help to tell you more about their performance on the field.

It is not an overall measure of their performance however, and WHIP should be calculated alongside ERA to get the full picture. 

What Is Considered A Good WHIP? 

Now that you have an understanding of what a WHIP is, and how it is calculated, you’re probably wondering what a good WHIP number is. This one is actually quite tricky to answer, as it changes all the time. 

The statistics fluctuate each season based on whether there are more or less offenses in a game. It is a pretty good statistic when compared to others however, as it’s less volatile despite its fluctuations. 

Generally speaking, if a player has a good WHIP, you can expect them to generally have a score of around 1.10, and average WHIP that isn’t all that remarkable will tend to be a 1.30. 

Some outstanding players, who are professionals, can have a WHIP of 1, or even below that. 

What Is Whip In Baseball?

Who Invented The WHIP System? 

It is also interesting to take a closer look at the history of the WHIP system, and who invented it. Initially, WHIP was considered to be a system used primarily by fans, and was not ‘official’ by any means.

Gradually though, it gained traction and credibility, and was adopted by official organizations as a legitimate scoring system. 

The person who first invented the WHIP system was a man called Daniel Okrent in 1979.

Okrent didn’t mean for the WHIP system to be taken as an official form of scoring, but was rather something that he came up with to predict future scores whilst playing alongside his friends in a fantasy baseball league. 

By applying the WHIP system, it’s easier to determine whether or not a player is struggling, or if they’re on the right track for the season. 

What Is The Key Difference Between WHIP And ERA? 

When it comes to the key difference between WHIP and ERA, it’s essentially to do with the measurements. 

As we mentioned earlier, WHIP pertains to the number of baserunners that the pitcher has allowed. ERA, on the other hand, measures how many runs the pitcher has allowed. 

It’s best to always calculate both of these together in order to assess the performance of a player. Just because a pitcher has managed to allow a number of baserunners, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will score.

Therefore, taking the ERA alongside the WHIP can help to give us a more accurate measure of a pitcher’s success. 

Which Player Has The Lowest WHIP? 

There have been many records throughout history of players achieving incredibly low WHIPs, but the most successful player in regards to this is Pedro Martinez. Martinez was able to achieve a WHIP score of only 0.73.73. 

Martinez is a Dominican American player, who played for the Boston Red Sox, and achieved great success as he achieved the fourth highest winning percentage in baseball history. 

He grew up in a baseball dominant family, and his father was actually a pitcher in the Dominican Republic during the 1950s. Martinez believes that baseball is in his blood. 

Final Thoughts 

To sum up, WHIP pertains to the number of baserunners that a pitcher has allowed. It is an acronym for ‘walks and hits per innings pitched’. This is a good determiner of whether or not a player is on the path to success.

In order to get a clearer picture of a player’s performance, the WHIP should always be calculated alongside their ERA.

Christopher Anderson
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