What Is A Good WHIP In Baseball? Breaking Down The Numbers

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what is a good whip in baseball

Baseball is a game of numbers. From batting averages to earned run averages, statistics are the lifeblood of the sport. Yet, among the dozens of metrics, one stands out for its simplicity and insight: WHIP. Ever wondered, “What is a good WHIP in baseball?” Let’s dive into this statistic, understand its roots, and appreciate its importance in evaluating a pitcher’s ability.



  • WHIP in baseball evaluates a pitcher’s performance by measuring the number of baserunners allowed per inning pitched.
  • The calculation for WHIP involves dividing the sum of a pitcher’s walks and hits allowed by their total innings pitched.
  • This statistic sheds light on a pitcher’s effectiveness, control, and ability to prevent the opposition from scoring.

Understanding WHIP in Baseball

Origination of WHIP

When it comes to baseball statistics, I find WHIP to be one of the most insightful metrics for evaluating a pitcher’s performance. The concept of WHIP was first introduced by Daniel Okrent, a renowned baseball statistician. He played a massive role in the development of various sabermetric measurements, including WHIP, which has now become a standard stat in baseball analysis.

The Acronym WHIP

WHIP stands for Walks and Hits per inning Pitched. This simple acronym represents the key components of the stat and provides a clear understanding of what it measures. As an avid baseball fan, I find this abbreviation to be useful not only in understanding the metric but also in discussing it with other people.

How Is WHIP In Baseball Calculated?

The calculation for WHIP is relatively straightforward, using the following formula:

WHIP = (Walks + Hits) / Innings Pitched

Example of Calculating WHIP

Let’s take a look at an example of how to calculate WHIP. Imagine that a pitcher has played in a game where they pitched for six innings. During those innings, they allowed four walks and seven hits. To find the WHIP, we must use our formula mentioned above:

  1. Add the walks and hits: Walks + Hits = 4 + 7 = 11
  2. Divide by the number of innings pitched: 11 / 6
  3. WHIP: 1.83

In this example, the pitcher would have a WHIP of 1.83.

Interpreting A WHIP Score

What is a good WHIP in baseball?

Generally, a WHIP score below 1.00 is considered exceptional, although a score between 1.00 and 1.25 is also indicative of a strong performance. The league average for WHIP is usually around 1.30 to 1.40, but it’s important to remember that this varies slightly from year to year. An effective pitcher will consistently achieve WHIP scores below the league average.

  • Elite Performance: A WHIP value close to or below 1.00 is indicative of top-tier pitching. Such pitchers consistently limit baserunners, reducing scoring opportunities for the opposition. Think Pedro in his prime.
  • Above Average: WHIP values ranging from 1.00 to 1.25 suggest above-average performance.
  • Room for Improvement: A WHIP significantly above 1.25 might indicate areas of concern and potential challenges in a pitcher’s performance.

Does a good WHIP equal more wins?

A lower WHIP indicates that a pitcher is better at keeping runners off the bases, which, in theory, should translate to fewer runs and subsequently more wins. But does a good WHIP always correlate directly with more victories for a pitcher?

  • Direct Correlation: At a foundational level, a lower WHIP means fewer batters are getting on base, reducing the chances of them scoring. If a pitcher consistently limits the number of baserunners, it can be inferred that they’re giving their team a better opportunity to win.
  • Wins: Wins for a pitcher are not solely determined by their performance. Other factors, such as run support from their offense, bullpen effectiveness, and team defense, play significant roles. Therefore, a pitcher with a stellar WHIP might not always rack up a high win total if the team’s offense struggles or the defense commits too many errors. Think Jason DeGrom during his Mets days.
  • Historical Data: Historical data and studies have shown that pitchers with better WHIPs tend to have better ERAs, which often correlates with more wins. However, there are notable exceptions, and many other elements come into play over a season.
  • Game Situations: Some high-pressure situations can’t be captured by WHIP alone. For instance, a pitcher might have a slightly higher WHIP but excel in crucial, high-leverage moments, preventing runs when they matter the most.

What is a bad WHIP in baseball?

A pitcher’s WHIP approaching or exceeding 1.50 generally indicates a problem. Such a statistic reveals that the pitcher allows one and a half baserunners per inning, on average, which increases the risk of allowing runs.

However, context is crucial. While a WHIP nearing or exceeding 1.50 is troubling in Major League Baseball, such standards might differ in amateur leagues or youth baseball. It’s always important to consider the league average and the competitive level when assessing what constitutes a “bad” WHIP.

Why WHIP Matters

In a game where preventing the opposing team from scoring is as crucial as scoring runs, a pitcher’s role is huge. While the Earned Run Average (ERA) is a popular metric that measures the runs a pitcher concedes, WHIP offers a more direct lens into a pitcher’s effectiveness against batters. Both stats account for a pitcher’s performance, sidelining the impact of errors and unearned runs. However, WHIP provides a more granular view, focusing on individual events like walks and hits.

WHIP Limitations

While WHIP is insightful, it’s essential to recognize what it doesn’t capture:

  • Hit batsmen: They contribute to baserunners but don’t count against a pitcher’s WHIP calculation.
  • Defensive errors: WHIP focuses on the pitcher, not considering fielding mistakes. Errors do not impact a pitcher’s WHIP.
  • Fielder’s choice: Runners who reach base via fielder’s choice to not count count against a pitcher’s WHIP calculation.
  • The nature of hits: WHIP treats all hits equally, whether a single or a home run.

WHIP vs. ERA And Other Metrics

In the context of WHIP calculation, it’s important to understand that errors and unearned runs don’t impact the statistic directly. WHIP focuses on walks and hits a pitcher allows, so it doesn’t factor in fielders’ errors. If an error occurs, the pitcher’s WHIP doesn’t change since they receive no credit for a hit or walk.

When comparing WHIP to another key pitching statistic, ERA (Earned Run Average), there are some important distinctions to be made. While both metrics evaluate a pitcher’s effectiveness, they do so from different perspectives.

For instance, consider two pitchers. One with an ERA of 2.50 and a WHIP of 1.20, and another with the same ERA but a WHIP of 1.00. While their ERAs are identical, the second pitcher is more effective at keeping runners off base, making them potentially more valuable.

  • ERA (Earned Run Average): While WHIP gauges a pitcher’s ability to prevent baserunners, ERA measures the average number of earned runs a pitcher allows per nine innings. Essentially, it calculates how well a pitcher can prevent runs from being scored by the opposing team.
  • SO/9 (Strikeouts per Nine Innings): A high strikeout rate can complement a low WHIP, indicating a pitcher’s ability to dominate batters.

Since WHIP focuses on preventing baserunners and ERA looks at preventing runs, these stats can sometimes paint different pictures of a pitcher’s effectiveness. That’s why it’s important for us to consider both WHIP and ERA, along with other measures, to get a comprehensive understanding of a pitcher’s performance.

WHIP and Modern Baseball Analytics

Today, WHIP isn’t just a number for experts to talk about. It’s very important in fantasy baseball and is used in many leagues. It helps fans and experts see how steady a pitcher is and guess how they might do in the future.

With new baseball stats coming out all the time, WHIP stands out because it’s simple and straightforward. While some stats need a lot of thinking to understand, WHIP is easy to get right away.

It’s a metric that can guide training, strategy, and in-game decisions. For instance, a coach might decide to switch pitchers if the current one has a rising WHIP during a game, indicating potential fatigue or loss of control.

WHIP in Fantasy Baseball

Importance of WHIP in Fantasy Baseball

As a fantasy baseball player, I’ve come to recognize the significance of WHIP. In drafting and managing my fantasy baseball team, I pay close attention to a pitcher’s WHIP. I do that because it’s a reliable indicator of their overall performance.

By targeting low-WHIP pitchers, I increase my team’s chances of dominating in the rotisserie league standings. Additionally, monitoring WHIP during the season can help me make informed decisions about trade opportunities, waiver pickups, and lineup adjustments.

WHIP is a crucial stat to consider in fantasy baseball, especially in rotisserie leagues. A low WHIP not only reflects a pitcher’s ability to limit base runners but also contributes to my team’s overall success. As a knowledgeable fantasy baseball manager, I make sure to keep a close eye on WHIP when evaluating and managing pitchers on my roster.

WHIP All-Time Leaders

A WHIP hovering around or below 1.00 during a season is often a hallmark of elite pitching in MLB. Looking back at baseball history, Pedro Martínez’s 2000 season with the Boston Red Sox was amazing. He had a WHIP of 0.7373. This was even better than Guy Hecker’s record of 0.7692 from 1882.

When it comes to career WHIP, Addie Joss reigns supreme with a WHIP of 0.9678 across 2,327 innings. Other notable mentions include Ed Walsh with a WHIP of 0.9996 and Mariano Rivera’s 1.0003.

Legendary Pitchers and Their WHIP Dominance

Throughout baseball history, certain pitchers have stood out not just for their wins or strikeouts, but for their ability to dominate batters and control the game. WHIP provides a quantifiable measure of this dominance. Here’s a table showcasing some of the all-time greats and their amazing WHIP records:

RankPlayerCareer WHIP
1Addie Joss0.9678
2Jacob deGrom0.9931
3Ed Walsh0.9996
4Mariano Rivera1.0003
5Clayton Kershaw1.0017
6John Montgomery Ward1.0438
7Chris Sale1.0463
8Pedro Martínez1.0544
9Christy Mathewson1.0581
10Trevor Hoffman1.0584
11Walter Johnson1.0612
12Mordecai Brown1.0658
13Charlie Sweeney1.0673
14Max Scherzer1.0777
15Reb Russell1.0800
16Jim Devlin1.0868
17Smoky Joe Wood1.0869
18Jack Pfiester1.0887
19George Bradley1.0901
20Tommy Bond1.0908
21Babe Adams1.0920
22Stephen Strasburg1.0959
23Gerrit Cole1.0976
24Juan Marichal1.1012
25Satchel Paige1.1012
26Dick Hall1.1019
27Rube Waddell1.1019
28Larry Corcoran1.1048
29Deacon Phillippe1.1051
30Sandy Koufax1.1061

Frequently Asked Questions

What does WHIP stand for in baseball?

WHIP stands for Walks and Hits per Inning Pitched.

How is WHIP calculated?

WHIP is calculated by adding the number of walks and hits a pitcher allows. You the divide that sum by the total number of innings they’ve pitched.

How does WHIP differ from ERA in assessing pitchers?

While both metrics evaluate a pitcher’s effectiveness, WHIP focuses on baserunners, whereas ERA measures the average number of earned runs a pitcher allows per nine innings. Both are valuable but offer different insights.

What is considered an elite WHIP in MLB?

A WHIP of 1.00 or below is typically viewed as elite in MLB.

How do MLB WHIP leaders rank historically?

Some of the all-time greats include Addie Joss with a career WHIP of 0.97, Ed Walsh at 1.00, and Pedro Martinez at 1.05.

What does a high WHIP indicate about a pitcher?

A high WHIP suggests that a pitcher often allows batters to get on base, either through hits or walks, which can lead to more runs scored against them.

Does a good WHIP guarantee more wins for a pitcher?

While a good WHIP generally indicates strong pitching performance, wins are influenced by various factors, including team offense, defense, and bullpen support.

Is WHIP a reliable statistic on its own for evaluating pitchers?

While WHIP is a valuable tool, it’s best used in conjunction with other statistics to get a comprehensive view of a pitcher’s performance.

Final Thoughts On WHIP In Baseball

In conclusion, WHIP is a simple yet powerful stat in baseball. It helps fans and players quickly understand a pitcher’s performance. Just like batting averages tell us about a hitter’s skill, WHIP gives us a clear picture of how good a pitcher is at keeping players off the bases. So, the next time you’re watching a game, keep an eye on the WHIP to know just how well your favorite pitcher is doing!

Chris F.

Chris F.

Chris Forbes is the founder and editor of BaseballMode.com, a leading blog in the youth baseball space. As a lifelong baseball player, coach and fan, he decided to team up with his young son to offer advice and share their experiences with the sport they both love. Chris lives in the Boston area with his wife and three children.

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