|A Guide to Baseball Stats|
Baseball is drowning in statistics. Every year, it seems, someone comes
up with a new calculation for showing what a player is really worth.
The BAM asked David Grabiner to identify four stats that are worth tracking and four that can safely be ignored.
Stats to FollowFIP Fielding-Independent Pitching. FIP judges a pitcher by eliminating the vagaries of the fielding plays behind him. It measures only those things over which he has direct control, such as strikeouts, walks, and home runs. Grabiner believes this is a more accurate measure than Earned Run Average (ERA).
OPS On-base Plus Slugging. OPS adds a hitter’s on-base percentage (the number of times he’s reached base with a hit or a walk divided by total number of plate appearances) and his slugging percentage (total number of bases attained where a home run is valued at four, a triple is three, a double is two, and a single is one, divided by total number of at-bats). This statistic combines the two most important measures of a good hitter: getting on base and hitting for power.
WAR Wins Above Replacement. WAR combines the offensive and defensive contributions of a player and compares him to a freely available replacement player at the same position.
WPA Win Probability Added. WPA keeps track of a team’s chances of winning as a result of a batter’s or pitcher’s contribution. WPA keeps track of what players changed the probability of their team’s winning the game, so it easily shows who is most responsible for a win. Grabiner says it’s not as useful as other stats for evaluating individual players, but it does accurately capture how a team performs in a game or season.
Stats to Safely Ignore
WHIP Walks and Hits per Inning Pitched.
WHIP is found in most fantasy leagues. Hits allowed are not the
best way to evaluate a pitcher, as they depend on the defense behind