What does baseball abbreviation WHIP mean?
Not too long ago one didn’t have to know too many baseball statistics to get an idea of how good a player was. There were the basics: batting average, home runs, runs batted in for hitters and wins, strikeouts and earned run average on the pitching side.
In the 1980s Bill James helped lead a statistical revolution that has become more fully embraced by the baseball mainstream in the past decade.
Walks and hits per inning (WHIP) is one of those newer stats that tells a more complete story of a pitchers’ performance. It is much better to evaluate relievers than ERA, which would ignore runners inherited by the pitcher.
For batters two other stats have become indispensible for player evaluation: on-base percentage (OBP) which takes into account the fact that walks are nearly as valuable as hits and OPS, which combines a batter’s slugging percentage with his OBP.
But what about a single statistic that combines a player’s batting (or pitching) abilities with his defensive skills? There’s a stat for that — it’s called Wins Above Replacement (or WAR).
Two websites — baseball-reference.com and fangraphs.com — calculate a player’s value over what is the average statistical value of a replacement-level player, or the average Triple-A player.
The two sites’ numbers vary slightly because of different defensive calculations, but they give one a snapshot of just how good a player has performed over a season. As an example, Justin Verlander had a WAR of 8.2 last season for the Tigers, according to baseball-reference. Numbers above 8 are usually considered MVP-worthy, while 5 and above are All-Star level.
Babe Ruth? He had eight seasons of a WAR of 10 or above, topping out at 13.7 in 1923. He was pretty good.