The Significance of FIP: An Evaluation

Dave Stieb pitching off the mound; CC by 2.0 License

One of the crucial frequent knocks on sabermetrics is how sure stats are flawed. I’m not going to speak about how FIP is an ideal stat and is the end-all, be-all relating to superior stats. FIP is a really flawed stat with holes. Nonetheless, it is usually a extremely essential metric on this planet of baseball in the present day and must be understood for all ranges of baseball gamers. So, to begin with, what’s FIP?

FIP is a stat that’s based mostly on the work of Voros McCracken on defense-independent pitching statistics. Tom Tango and Clay Dreslough made the stat itself they usually first known as it “Protection-Unbiased Part ERA.” The stat has gained some reputation as of late as a result of ease with which it’s calculated. In contrast to another superior stats reminiscent of SIERA and wOBA, FIP is far simpler to calculate because it requires easy-to-remember constants paired with primary math.

13xHR+3x(BB+HBP) – 2xK

FIP= —————————– + FIP fixed


The FIP fixed is used to convey FIP onto the identical scale as ERA. There’s a method for the FIP fixed; nevertheless, if wanting on the MLB, it’s roughly 3.1-3.2. All of it is dependent upon the run atmosphere of the league wherein you’re taking part in. In case you are teaching/taking part in in highschool and the common ERA is over 5, then the FIP fixed would regulate to round a 3.4-3.5 vary. All of it is dependent upon the league common ERA of whichever league one is in. The FIP fixed equation is listed beneath:

lg=League (13xlgHR)+(3x(lgBB+lgHBP))-(2xlgK)

FIP fixed= lgERA minus ————————————-

League IP

Now, what does FIP imply? FIP stands for Fielding Unbiased Pitching. It takes a pitcher’s numbers and utterly neutralizes any ball that’s put in play. It solely seems to be on the outcomes {that a} pitcher has 100% management of, these being Strikeouts, Walks/HBP, and Homeruns. It’s usually used to indicate the “luck” of a pitcher as a result of if a pitcher has low FIP, meaning they’re placing out batters and never giving up walks or residence runs. Nonetheless, if that very same pitcher has a excessive ERA, he are seen as unfortunate as a result of his FIP is low.

Tips on how to Use FIP

FIP is a stat for use with different stats. One can not simply take a look at it to find out a participant’s worth. FIP tells a narrative of how good a pitcher is in comparison with his ERA, as displayed beneath.

If we glance simply on the ERA of those guys, then Kluber was terrible, whereas Greene was mediocre and Quantrill very strong. Nonetheless, wanting on the FIP would make somebody assume they’re all comparable pitchers. Neither of those statements are incorrect as a result of you will need to take a look at BOTH ERA and FIP. Right here is how one would consider these pitchers by simply the numbers above.

Hunter Greene

Greene underperformed his FIP barely, as his 4.21 ERA is greater than his FIP. This means that he probably was excellent at 1 of three parts of FIP whereas not being nearly as good on the different 2. This might depict worth in holding Greene round, and if he can pitch his solution to a extra well-rounded FIP, he has a excessive ceiling.

Cal Quantrill

Quantrill is within the reverse spot as Greene. His ERA was decrease than his FIP, which means he overperformed his FIP. this makes me assume that he allowed a variety of balls in play with weak contact. His Ok/9 was probably beneath common and HR/9 and BB/9 above common, which might result in extra balls in play. I don’t count on a lot development from Quantrill, however regression is not probably both. He’s be a protected wager for any rotation this 12 months.

Corey Kluber

Kluber’s season is a really attention-grabbing case examine, as his ERA was greater than one would count on by his FIP. these numbers makes me assume that Kluber was hit very arduous whereas additionally holding his walks low and Ok/9 excessive. This might give me some hope for Kluber going into subsequent 12 months, particularly if he can begin to keep away from hard-hit balls. Nonetheless, I might be very cautious with him. If his BB/9 will get even somewhat worse, he may utterly implode.

It’s extremely essential to grasp tips on how to use FIP and when to make use of it. It’s a very worthwhile stat that may present so much from a pitcher. As talked about above, a lot will be evaluated by simply wanting on the FIP and ERA of a pitcher. Nonetheless, some critical points with FIP itself nonetheless should be understood.

The Unhealthy Facet of FIP

I can not speak about FIP with out speaking in regards to the clear flaws within the stat itself. FIP avoids all batted balls, which is an efficient factor within the sense that it could actually simplify a pitcher into the three true outcomes. Nonetheless, it could actually are inclined to oversimplify a pitcher in the best way it did with Kluber. Looking at Kluber’s baseball savant web page, he was not good this 12 months. However he was excellent at limiting walks, which made his FIP appear so much higher than he was. This tends to occur when a pitcher has one ELITE part of FIP however is common or poor within the different parts. It will probably simply result in a FIP that’s decrease than the pitcher’s efficiency would point out. In conclusion, take FIP with a grain of salt and use the opposite stats round to assist consider the participant.

One other huge situation with FIP is that it tends to favor energy pitchers. These are guys with absurdly excessive Ok/9 and typically good BB/9 or HR/9. Take a look at Hunter Greene, for instance. He’s an influence pitcher within the making, with a excessive 90s fastball and a variety of strikeouts to his title. This led to his decrease FIP than anticipated. On the flip slide of this, FIP also can harm contact-based pitchers that don’t depend on strikeouts. An instance of this comes from the nice Greg Maddux in comparison with Nolan Ryan.

Nolan Ryan and Greg Maddux throughout 4-year peak

As most know, Maddux was identified for being a really contact-based pitcher who depends, which ends up in a low Ok/9 fee. Ryan was very a lot an influence pitcher who preferred to depend on strikeouts. Trying on the stats above, it’s clear that Maddux had a 4-year peak that Nolan Ryan couldn’t contact. Nonetheless, regardless of their ERA being over a one-run distinction, their FIP is in the identical ballpark. One would assume that Maddux ought to have a much better FIP based mostly on his dominance in different stats, but Maddux being a contact pitcher comes again to harm him when it comes to FIP. Greg Maddux’s Ok/9 was solely 7.0, in comparison with Nolan Ryan’s Ok/9 of just about 10. This can be a prime instance of FIP favoring energy pitchers far more than contact pitchers.

One other important situation with FIP is that it utterly reductions balls in play, implying that pitchers can not management them. An instance of how silly this may be is discovered by evaluating Oneil Cruz and Tony Kemp. Within the 2022 season, Oneil Cruz hit a 122.4 MPH exit velo single. This was the hardest-hit ball within the 2022 season, but it didn’t harm the pitcher as a result of it was only a single. On the flip aspect, Tony Kemp hit a house run with an exit velo of simply 95 MPH. Solely one among these two pitches went again to harm the pitcher’s FIP, and it was not the HARDEST hit ball of the 2022 season. As a substitute, it was simply the 95 mph HR.

The Significance of FIP

With all that being mentioned, FIP continues to be a vital stat. It may be a simple stat for all gamers and coaches to guage efficiency. FIP will help present how worthwhile a pitcher is at crucial components of pitching. As mentioned above, it ought to by no means be utilized by itself when evaluating stats. One solution to regulate FIP for youthful ranges of sports activities is to regulate the HR stat. In decrease ranges of baseball, HRs are usually not frequent and should not have as huge of an impression as they do within the majors. As a substitute of utilizing HRs, one may use XBH to gauge the impression of getting hit arduous. FIP will also be essential when teaching gamers. It may be straightforward to see if a pitcher has been as unhealthy as he appears, and it may be used to see how a participant can get higher. For instance, if a child had a 5.43 ERA however a 4.23 FIP, then there’s some hope for that child, as he’s doing higher than his ERA exhibits. FIP can be gaining much more significance in the present day with the rise in “3 true outcomes,” that are walks, HRs, and strikeouts. With the rise of “3 true outcomes” gamers, the primary parts of FIP are extra prevalent, making FIP much more helpful.

To indicate the significance of FIP and the way it may be used, look again on the 1982 AL CY Younger race earlier than FIP was an essential stat.

these numbers, it’s clear to me that Dave Stieb ought to have gained the Cy Younger, however the voters within the Eighties appeared largely at ERA and W-L document, in order that they gave the award to Vuckoich. One may assume that this doesn’t matter, however Stieb was a man who bought robbed of 1-2 Cy Younger awards, which is a giant motive why he’s not within the HOF. If FIP was a stat again then, it may be fairly assumed that Steib may have had a significantly better likelihood to win a Cy Younger award or two, which may have landed him within the HOF.

The significance of FIP can’t be understated. It helps to offer a unique lens to take a look at pitchers, which might change the entire perspective surrounding them. It’s certainly not an ideal stat, however it helps present the entire image when evaluating gamers.


FIP is a crucial however misunderstood and misused stat. FIP must be used throughout all ranges of sports activities. Nonetheless, it must be used within the appropriate method and used with different stats to indicate its worth. On no account is FIP an ideal stat. Nonetheless, with the simplicity of the stat and the worth it could actually present alongside ERA, it’s fairly worthwhile. I encourage you, for those who’re a fan, coach, participant, or another concerned with baseball, to find out about FIP as it could actually assist so much with all points of baseball.


– FanGraphs

– Baseball reference