The Significance of FIP: An Evaluation

Dave Stieb pitching off the mound; CC by 2.0 License

Some of the 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 in relation to superior stats. FIP is a really flawed stat with holes. Nonetheless, it’s also a extremely vital metric on this planet of baseball in the present day and must be understood for all ranges of baseball gamers. So, to start 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 and so they first referred to as it “Protection-Unbiased Part ERA.” The stat has gained some recognition as of late as a result of ease with which it’s calculated. In contrast to another superior stats similar to SIERA and wOBA, FIP is way simpler to calculate because it requires easy-to-remember constants paired with fundamental 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 formulation for the FIP fixed; nonetheless, if trying on the MLB, it’s roughly 3.1-3.2. All of it will depend on the run setting of the league by which 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 modify to round a 3.4-3.5 vary. All of it will depend on 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 fully neutralizes any ball that’s put in play. It solely appears on the outcomes {that a} pitcher has 100% management of, these being Strikeouts, Walks/HBP, and Homeruns. It’s usually used to point out the “luck” of a pitcher as a result of if a pitcher has low FIP, which means they’re placing out batters and never giving up walks or house runs. Nonetheless, if that very same pitcher has a excessive ERA, he are seen as unfortunate as a result of his FIP is low.

Methods to Use FIP

FIP is a stat for use with different stats. One can’t simply have 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 stable. Nonetheless, trying on the FIP would make somebody assume they’re all related pitchers. Neither of those statements are incorrect as a result of you will need to have a look at BOTH ERA and FIP. Right here is how one would consider these pitchers by taking a look at 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 doubtless was excellent at 1 of three parts of FIP whereas not being nearly as good on the different 2. This may depict worth in preserving Greene round, and if he can pitch his technique 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, that means he overperformed his FIP. this makes me assume that he allowed a whole lot of balls in play with weak contact. His Ok/9 was doubtless beneath common and HR/9 and BB/9 above common, which might result in extra balls in play. I don’t anticipate a lot development from Quantrill, however regression is not doubtless both. He’s be a secure guess for any rotation this 12 months.

Corey Kluber

Kluber’s season is a really fascinating case examine, as his ERA was greater than one would anticipate by taking a look at his FIP. these numbers makes me assume that Kluber was hit very onerous whereas additionally preserving his walks low and Ok/9 excessive. This may 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’d be very cautious with him. If his BB/9 will get even just a little worse, he may fully implode.

It’s extremely vital to know the best way to use FIP and when to make use of it. It’s a very invaluable stat that may present loads from a pitcher. As talked about above, a lot might be evaluated by simply trying on the FIP and ERA of a pitcher. Nonetheless, some severe points with FIP itself nonetheless should be understood.

The Unhealthy Facet of FIP

I can’t 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 will possibly simplify a pitcher into the three true outcomes. Nonetheless, it will possibly are inclined to oversimplify a pitcher in the best way it did with Kluber. Having a look 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 loads higher than he was. This tends to occur when a pitcher has one ELITE element 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 massive subject with FIP is that it tends to favor energy pitchers. These are guys with absurdly excessive Ok/9 and generally good BB/9 or HR/9. Have a look at Hunter Greene, for instance. He’s an influence pitcher within the making, with a excessive 90s fastball and a whole lot of strikeouts to his identify. This led to his decrease FIP than anticipated. On the flip slide of this, FIP may also damage contact-based pitchers that don’t depend on strikeouts. An instance of this comes from the good Greg Maddux in comparison with Nolan Ryan.

Nolan Ryan and Greg Maddux throughout 4-year peak

As most know, Maddux was recognized for being a really contact-based pitcher who depends, which results in a low Ok/9 charge. Ryan was very a lot an influence pitcher who preferred to depend on strikeouts. Wanting 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 by way of 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 most important subject with FIP is that it fully reductions balls in play, implying that pitchers can’t 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 damage 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 considered one of these two pitches went again to harm the pitcher’s FIP, and it was not the HARDEST hit ball of the 2022 season. As an alternative, it was simply the 95 mph HR.

The Significance of FIP

With all that being stated, FIP continues to be an important stat. It may be a straightforward stat for all gamers and coaches to judge efficiency. FIP might help present how invaluable a pitcher is at crucial components of pitching. As stated above, it ought to by no means be utilized by itself when evaluating stats. One technique to modify FIP for youthful ranges of sports activities is to regulate the HR stat. In decrease ranges of baseball, HRs usually are not frequent and wouldn’t have as massive of an affect as they do within the majors. As an alternative of utilizing HRs, one may use XBH to gauge the affect of getting hit onerous. FIP may also be vital when teaching gamers. It may be straightforward to see if a pitcher has been as dangerous 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 may be 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 point out 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 vital stat.

these numbers, it’s clear to me that Dave Stieb ought to have received the Cy Younger, however the voters within the Eighties regarded principally at ERA and W-L document, so that they gave the award to Vuckoich. One would possibly assume that this doesn’t matter, however Stieb was a man who obtained robbed of 1-2 Cy Younger awards, which is an enormous cause why he’s not within the HOF. If FIP was a stat again then, it may be moderately assumed that Steib may have had a a lot 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 supply a distinct lens to have a look at pitchers, which may change the entire perspective surrounding them. It’s not at all an ideal stat, nevertheless 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 right manner and used with different stats to point out its worth. Certainly not is FIP an ideal stat. Nonetheless, with the simplicity of the stat and the worth it will possibly present alongside ERA, it’s fairly invaluable. I encourage you, should you’re a fan, coach, participant, or another concerned with baseball, to study FIP as it will possibly assist loads with all facets of baseball.


– FanGraphs

– Baseball reference