# What is FIP in Baseball?

FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) is a sabermetrics statistic used to measure a pitcher’s effectiveness. While similar to ERA (Earned Run Average), FIP statistics primarily focus on analyzing a pitcher’s performance outside of plays they can’t control. FIP factors in strikeouts, unintentional walks, hit-by-pitches, and home runs are well within a pitcher’s ability to control. Meanwhile, potential flyouts, ground outs, and more are out of a pitcher’s control.

So, what is the formula for FIP in baseball, and what tends to be a good number in baseball? What does xFIP (expected Fielding Independent Pitching) mean? How is FIP different from ERA? How is FIP different from WHIP? Why is using FIP good in baseball? Are there any flaws in relying on FIP in baseball?

Here is the complete breakdown of FIP in baseball.

## What is the Formula for FIP in Baseball?

According to Baseball Reference, the FIP formula reads as follows: (13*HR + 3*BB – 2*K)/IP + C. Each multiplier represents the average linear weight of HR, BB, and K, attributing a fair numerical value to each event. The formula may appear confusing at first glance, but it is pretty simple when broken down.

• HR represents home runs
• BB represents walks that a pitcher gives up during a game
• HBP represents hit-by-pitches
• K represents strikeouts
• C represents the league constant.

This formula calculates a pitcher’s FIP from a league average of 100, and the constant is used to scale FIP for ERA to produce the FIP constant.

## What is a Good FIP in Baseball?

Like ERA, a good FIP score is in the 2s and lower 3s. For example, Ed Walsh, a pitcher for the Atlanta Braves and Chicago White Sox, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1946 with a career ERA of 1.82 and a FIP of 2.018.

In the 2012 season, Major League pitcher Clayton Kershaw earned a decent FIP score of 2.89 for the Dodgers, but he was slightly edged out by Gio Gonzalez and Felix Hernandez, who scored 2.82 and 2.84, respectively.

A good FIP score reflects how well the pitcher can keep the batter from hitting home runs or gaining bases without help from field defense; hence the lower the number, the better the score.

## What Does xFIP (Expected Fielding Independent Pitching) Mean?

xFIP stands for Expected Fielding Independent Pitching and is used to find a pitcher’s FIP while using projected home run rates as opposed to actual home runs allowed. The xFIP formula is almost the same as FIP, except HR is replaced with fly balls allowed times the league-wide home run rate: 13*(Fly Balls*lgHR/FB%) + 3*(BB+HBP) – (2*K)/IP+ constant.

By replacing home runs allowed with fly balls times the league-wide home run rate, the luck associated with home runs is removed from the equation allowing for a more accurate prediction and focusing on the pitcher’s skill.

## How is FIP Different from ERA?

The primary difference between FIP and ERA statistics is that FIP calculates the pitcher’s skill based on events in the pitcher’s control as opposed to ERA, which calculates the pitcher’s skill while still factoring in circumstances that involve the other player’s participation in defending the bases.

While the two are similar, FIP removes the factors outside the pitcher’s control to hone in on the pitcher’s ability to keep the players from scoring before the other players step in.

In most instances, a pitcher’s ERA is similar to their FIP. There are instances in which pitchers have a much lower ERA score than FIP due to soft pitching that results in weak contact and, ultimately, balls in play that wind up as outs.

## An Example of How ERA and FIP Can Differ in More Detail

One stark example of how ERA and FIP can differ is Eduardo Rodriguez‘s pitching statistics in 2021. While his usual career mark was a 4.16 ERA, he spent most of the 2021 season with a 5.0 ERA, while a 5.0 was not far from his average ERA. His peripherals indicated that he pitched better than ever in any other season and earned 3.32 FIP.

Situations like this highlight the value of using FIP to strategize and fairly evaluate a player’s skill and purpose and predict a pitcher’s future regression throughout a season. In this example, one can deduce that Eduardo’s defense let him down on the mound by not making plays on defense that, while were not errors, did lead to him giving up additional runs as a pitcher.

## How is FIP Different from WHIP?

WHIP stands for Walks and Hits Per Innings Pitched and is expressed in the following equation: (PW+PH)/TIP. WHIP is another common way of analyzing a pitcher’s ability. However, unlike FIP, WHIP is a much less precise but quicker way to summarize a pitcher’s stat for a season.

Essentially, WHIP analyzes a pitcher’s skills by tracking how many times per inning a pitcher allows a hitter to reach base.

## Why is Using FIP Good in Baseball?

Using FIP to analyze a pitcher’s skills is good because it allows the pitcher’s skills to stand alone outside of the help gained from the defense. With the ERA statistic, a pitcher could have a good defense, making them seem more skilled, while a poor defense could make the pitcher seem less skilled.

Taking the defense out of the equation gives you a much more accurate picture of how the pitcher plays their position.

## Are There Any Flaws in Relying on FIP in Baseball?

While FIP can provide a more accurate analysis of a pitcher’s abilities, it has flaws. For example, home runs factor significantly in FIP, and if the pitcher is playing in a park more conducive to home runs, such as the Colorado Rockies’ home at Coors Field, this could affect the pitcher’s FIP.

FIP is also more suited for long-term analysis of a pitcher’s skills, such as looking at a pitcher’s entire season. It is much less suited for short-term analysis.

## Who Receives Credit for Developing FIP in Baseball?

Developed by Tom M. Tango and derivative of the research by Voros McCracken, the concept of FIP stems from DIPS. DIPS sought to analyze a pitcher’s effectiveness by removing plays and factors outside of the pitcher’s control from the analysis, such as defense plays typically reliant on fielders and outfielders.

You can look up a player’s FIP statistic on various websites, including FanGraphs.

## Conclusion: What is FIP in Baseball?

In summary, FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) is a statistic formulated by Tom M. Tango to analyze a pitcher’s ability over a season, mainly by removing the pitcher’s team’s defense from the analysis to summarize the pitcher’s skill accurately.

The FIP Formula follows (13*HR + 3*BB – 2*K)/IP + C.

While FIP is similar to other statistics, such as ERA and WHIP, it primarily focuses on the pitcher’s responsibility in protecting the bases instead of the defense’s responsibility. FIP is best for analyzing a pitcher’s performance over an entire season, while statistics like WHIP and ERA are more suitable for analyzing a pitcher’s performance after a few games.

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