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 Follow**

Dustin Fenstermacher

Grabiner and former Yankees catcher Jorge Posada.

**FIP** *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
him.

**RBI** *Runs Batted In*.
RBI credits a batter for all runs that score on a hit or an out.
Grabiner believes the statistic is overrated, because it depends on
when a hitter hits and whether men are on base when he bats.

Wins The
official rules for who gets a win are many and convoluted. Wins
are often a product of how much run support a pitcher gets as opposed
to how well he pitched.

**Errors** Errors give an
accurate picture of how good a fielder is at converting balls he can
reach into outs, but say nothing about the far more important question
of how many balls a fielder can reach. In fact, a fielder who reaches
more balls will probably make more errors because he’ll have more
opportunities to make them.

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