Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Understand Sabermetrics : Fielding Independent Pitching

Fielding Independent Pitching, or more commonly known as FIP, is a pitchers stat that when put into simple English measures everything that the pitcher controls in a game. It takes away defense, it takes away the park where the game is being played, etc. Pitchers can control walks, home runs, strike outs, hit by pitches, etc and that is what FIP studies. There are two formulas for FIP and neither of them are very simple to understand, especially to a novice.

With this formula you would take the number 13 and multiply it by the number of home runs, then add it to whatever number you get when you multiply 3 by the number of walks. I do not know where the statmeticians got the number 13 to multiply by home runs, the number 3 to multiply by the walks, or the number 2 to multiply by the strikeouts. I know it has something to do with the fact that home runs hurt a pitcher more then a walk would but the actual numbers is a mystery to me.  This formula is generally no where near your ERA is, which is a problem for those who think FIP was made to show what your ERA would be with league average defending and every game was played in a bubble,  so another formula was developed to get it closer to your ERA.

The "constant" here is the 3.10 so you can achieve what the stat really wants, and that is to be more of an indicator of what your ERA will be over the course of a season. FIP is a terrible stat to use in a small sample size but a great stat to use to predict the future or look at what a guy did over the course of a season. 

Here is a graph, courtesy of Fangraphs, that shows you how your FIP will rank with the league average FIP's.

Above Average3.75
Below Average4.20

To put this into a Yankees perspective let us use the Yankees ace and workhorse CC Sabathia as an example of the FIP stat. In 2011 CC Sabathia had a 2.88 FIP, placing him in the "Excellent" range just a few points behind Roy Halladay's 2.70 league leading (for starters)2011 FIP.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)