New progress in the ever-evolving conundrum of making baseball statistics useful and meaningful.
Much progress has been made over the past couple of decades in separating the pitchers from the belly-itchers. Good old ERA will let you know one key thing: How many runs a pitcher has given up (and, hence, how many he is likely to give up, all other things being equal.) ERA by itself is unsatisfactory, though, as it doesn’t account adequately for pitchers leaving the mound and giving their relief the dubious gift of runners in scoring position or for the blood-pressure-increasing stress given to everyone involved when runner after runner makes it on base.
WHIP (Walks and Hits per Inning Pitched) was a vast improvement in the struggle to make the numbers explain the game and making the numbers useful to prediciting a pitcher’s impact on a game. We applaud the sabermetricians who developed and promulgated WHIP.
There’s still one small thing missing, though. Runners get on base in three major ways that can be attributed to the pitcher: getting a hit, getting walked, or getting hit by a pitch. WHIP didn’t include that last one. It matters. A beaned batter (or his pinch runner) is no less a man on base than a walked batter or a batter who has singled.
Therefore, we here at the Tsubamegun propose RIP. Not to be confused with Resquiescat In Pace or its vulgate twin, Rest In Peace, the new RIP is Runners per Inning Pitched, with the implication, of course, of “Runners” being limited to those whose presence on base can be attributed to the pitcher.
RIP is not only a better indicator of how many men a pitcher is likely to allow on base, as it includes runners hit by pitches, who are not included in WHIP, it is also just as easy to calculate as WHIP – just add HBP before dividing.
Thus: H + BB + HBP / IP = RIP
So, for example, Tokyo starter Shohei Tateyama’s stat line, as of his last appearance prior to May 20th, looks like this:
So: 35+10+2 = 47
And: 47/44.666667 = 1.05
(after rounding. Cutting off the infinite 2/3 decimal at six places was an arbitrary decision – it’s long enough so as not to change the final number.)
Thus, Tateyama has a RIP of 1.05.
Simple, better, it even has a name as catchy as WHIP.
Runners who reach base on Errors are not included as they, obviously, cannot be pinned on the pitcher.
As you’ve probably figured out by now, a pitcher who has hit no batters would have a RIP identical to his WHIP.
While zombies and the undead cannot R.I.P., they can have a RIP if they pitch.
R.I.P. WHIP. (Cheesy, but I couldn’t resist.)