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Cracking the Code: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding WHIP in Baseball

Understanding WHIP in Baseball

As a casual fan or a die-hard follower of baseball, you may have come across the term WHIP, and perhaps wondered what it means and why it is so important in baseball. In this article, we will provide you a comprehensive guide to understanding WHIP in baseball, covering everything from the definition of WHIP to its limitations and usage.

Definition of WHIP

Walks and Hits per Innings Pitched (WHIP) is an important metric used in baseball to measure a pitcher’s effectiveness. It is calculated by the sum of Walks and Hits allowed by the pitcher divided by the total number of innings pitched.

The lower the WHIP, the better the pitcher performed in keeping opposing team’s batters off the bases.

Calculation of WHIP

To calculate WHIP, you need to divide the total number of walks and hits that the pitcher gave up, by the total number of innings that the pitcher pitched. For instance, if a pitcher allowed 50 walks and 100 hits in 150 innings pitched, the calculation will be as follows:

(50+100)/150 = 1.00 WHIP

Limitations of WHIP

While WHIP is an important measurement for evaluating a pitcher, it has some limitations. For instance, it does not account for how the runs are scored.

A pitcher can have a low WHIP, but if he gives up a lot of home runs, it can still lead to runs scored. Additionally, WHIP does not take into account the number of hit batters, errors, or fielder’s choice base runners, which can also impact a pitcher’s performance.

Moreover, it does not consider the type of hits given up (e.g. singles, doubles, triples) which may also vary in terms of the scoring opportunities that they create.

Good WHIP in Baseball

A pitcher with a low WHIP is considered more effective than one with a high WHIP. An exceptional WHIP of around 1.00 or below shows a pitcher’s impressive control of the game.

A pitcher with a WHIP slightly above 1.00 is still good, while a pitcher with a WHIP above 2.00 is considered poor. A pitcher’s WHIP score ultimately determines how many baserunners he allows per inning pitched, resulting in the likelihood of scoring fewer runs and winning more games.

Use of WHIP and ERA

The ERA (Earned Run Average) and WHIP go hand in hand when evaluating a pitcher’s complete perspective. While a pitcher’s ERA focuses on how many runs they allow per inning, their WHIP focuses solely on how many hits and walks they give up.

Combining these two scores makes it possible to accurately evaluate a pitcher’s control over both their run prevention and batters at bat. How to Calculate a Pitcher’s WHIP

Calculating a pitcher’s WHIP is a simple process and requires just a small amount of basic arithmetic.

You will require information in three key areas to calculate his WHIP score accurately:

The total number of hits that the pitcher allowed

A total number of walks that the pitcher allowed

A total number of innings pitched by the pitcher

Once you have all this information, you can easily calculate the pitcher’s WHIP by applying the formula we provided earlier.

Accuracy in Limited Innings

It is important to note that WHIP scores get more accurate as the number of innings pitched increases. For instance, a pitcher with a great start to the season may have an outstanding WHIP score, but with few innings pitched, this score may be deceivingly low.

It is more accurate to consider the WHIP score over a more extended period, usually the average number of innings. By doing so, a more accurate representation of the pitcher’s effectiveness is obtained.


Understanding WHIP in baseball is vital, especially for those who follow the sport closely. The measurement helps in assessing the control of a pitcher and their ability to prevent batters from reaching the bases.

This informative guide on WHIP aims to help baseball enthusiasts learn more about the tool, its uses, and its limitations, with a calculation guide and practical examples. In a nutshell, WHIP, alongside ERA, provides a comprehensive perspective of a pitcher’s effectiveness through control and run prevention.

What WHIP Does Not Measure

Walks and Hits per Innings Pitched (WHIP) is a primary measurement tool for evaluating a pitcher’s effectiveness in controlling the opposing team’s baserunners. However, despite its usefulness, it has limitations in measuring some metrics that are just as crucial for evaluating a pitcher’s performance.

Inaccuracies of WHIP

Firstly, WHIP measurement does not account for when the baserunners got on base. For instance, a pitcher may have a high WHIP score, but it may not be entirely their fault if the opposing team reached base due to errors made by the fielding team.

In such cases, a pitcher may have an inaccurate WHIP score that does not reflect their actual performance. Similarly, WHIP does not consider when a player gets hit by the pitch (HBP), which can significantly impact a pitcher’s overall performance.

Lastly, WHIP does not account for the opposing team’s offensive output, which is equally important in evaluating a pitcher’s overall effectiveness.

Limitations of WHIP

Additionally, while WHIP covers an essential aspect of the game’s control in pitching, it does not fully represent the impact the pitcher has on the score. A pitcher may have an excellent WHIP score, but if they give up critical runs in crucial sections of the game, the score will inevitably result in a loss.

Limitations in WHIP performance can be seen when pitchers face fewer baserunners per inning but give up more runs as a result of hits, errors, etc. Therefore, in measuring a pitcher’s performance, it is critical to consider all the core aspects of the game.

The Correlation Between WHIP and a Pitcher’s Success

While it is essential to recognize the limitations of WHIP as a performance measurement tool, it is equally important to understand its correlation with the pitcher’s success. There is a strong correlation between a pitcher’s WHIP score and their overall success in winning games, particularly considering the impact of baserunners on scoring opportunities.

Correlation between WHIP and Wins

The effectiveness of a pitcher is directly proportional to their ability to keep opposing teams off the bases, which, in turn, results in their ability to prevent runs being scored. Every time a pitcher allows a batter to reach base, they create a scoring opportunity for the opposing team.

Thus, a low WHIP score translates to a pitcher preventing the opposing team’s success in scoring runs. The more baserunners a pitcher allows, the more chances the opposing team has of putting runs on the scoreboard.

In contrast, pitchers who allow fewer baserunners typically give their offense better opportunities to score runs and win games.

Control and WHIP

Control is a significant factor in pitching performance and its relationship with WHIP. A pitcher with good control has a higher chance of throwing quality pitches.

Good control also allows a pitcher to direct the ball to areas where it is tough for the batter to create a scoring opportunity, resulting in lower WHIP scores. Control makes it easier for pitchers to keep baserunners at bay and prevent them from scoring runs.

Therefore, the pitcher’s success in preventing runs scored is, in part, due to their exceptional control of their pitches. In conclusion, while WHIP is an essential tool for measuring a pitcher’s control in the game, it should not be considered in isolation.

The limitations and inaccuracies of WHIP, such as not accounting for baserunner errors and the opposing team’s offensive output, must be considered when evaluating a pitcher’s overall performance. However, the correlation between WHIP and a pitcher’s success in winning games and preventing runs scored cannot be ignored.

Control and WHIP are closely linked in determining a pitcher’s success in preventing runs being scored and ultimately winning games.

Best WHIP Pitchers of All Time

Walks and Hits per Innings Pitched (WHIP) has become a crucial statistic in measuring a pitcher’s control and overall effectiveness in the game. While there have been many impressive pitchers throughout the history of baseball, only a few have earned a spot on the list of the best WHIP pitchers of all time.

Top Ten

Best WHIP Pitchers of All Time

1. Addie Joss – 0.97


Ed Walsh – 1.00

3. Mariano Rivera – 1.00


Jacob deGrom – 1.02

5. Clayton Kershaw – 1.02


Chris Sale – 1.03

7. John Ward – 1.03


Pedro Martinez – 1.05

9. Christy Mathewson – 1.06


Trevor Hoffman – 1.06

Cy Young’s WHIP

Cy Young is widely regarded as the best pitcher of all time. He holds the record for the most career wins in the major leagues with 511.

However, his WHIP was not officially recorded as a statistic during his playing years. Though, various sources have estimated his WHIP to fall in the range of 1.13 and 1.14.

Frequently Asked Questions about WHIP

What is the Lowest Recorded WHIP in MLB History? Pedro Martinez holds the record for the lowest recorded WHIP in the MLB season.

In 2000, pitching for the Boston Red Sox, Martinez recorded an incredible WHIP of 0.74. It is widely regarded as one of the greatest pitching seasons in the history of baseball.

What is the Average WHIP in MLB? The average WHIP in the MLB varies from season to season.

According to Baseball Reference, the average WHIP in the MLB has steadily decreased since 2019, where it sat at 1.33, to 1.26 in 2020, and 1.20 in 2021. What Baserunners are Included in a WHIP Stat?

WHIP calculations include the total number of walks and hits a pitcher allows per inning pitched. Who Created the WHIP Stat?

The credit for creating WHIP Stat is given to Daniel Okrent, one of the founders of Rotisserie League Fantasy Baseball. Okrent introduced the stat to the game in 1982.

How does WHIP Compare to ERA? While both WHIP and ERA take into account the number of baserunners and runs allowed by a pitcher, WHIP focuses solely on walks and hits allowed, while ERA takes into account all types of runs allowed.

As such, WHIP is considered a better indicator of a pitcher’s control in preventing the opposing team from reaching base, while ERA provides a more comprehensive picture of a pitcher’s effectiveness in preventing runs scored. In conclusion, WHIP has become an integral part of baseball analysis and measuring pitcher performance over time.

The best WHIP pitchers of all time are those who have demonstrated exceptional control over the game and have played a crucial role in their team’s success. The statistic is easy to understand and provides a good evaluation of a pitcher’s effectiveness.

Meanwhile, the frequently asked questions about WHIP mentioned above aim to provide comprehensive information about the statistic and its application in evaluating pitchers. In conclusion, WHIP has become an essential statistic in evaluating a pitchers performance in baseball.

It measures their ability to control the opposing team’s baserunners, reflecting their impact on score prevention and the team’s success. While it has limitations and inaccuracies, it correlates strongly with winning.

The article covers the calculation and limitations of WHIP, the best WHIP pitchers of all time, and frequently asked questions about WHIP. FAQs include the average WHIP in MLB, the lowest recorded WHIP in MLB history, and how WHIP compares to ERA.

Understanding WHIP equips baseball fans to analyze a pitchers control, effectiveness, and role in their teams overall success.

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