Understanding Concepts: DIPS and FIP

Statistics is the foundation of a good fantasy baseball experience. This said, you must know your way around basic concepts such as defense-independent pitching statistics (DIPS) and fielding independent pitching (FIP).

Defense-Independent Pitching Statistics

Voros McCracken, a baseball sabermetrician, has pioneered a new type of baseball statistics in the 1990s. His article on Pitching and Defense began the separation of the pitching stats from the defensive stats. Defense-independent pitching statistics (DIPS) answers that question: Can you measure the efficacy of the pitcher with stats that only pitchers can control?

McCraken believes that fluctuations in BABIP and ERA are influenced by luck and defense, which are both out of the pitcher’s control. Thus, they can’t help in calculation the value of the player.

DIPS, on the other hand, takes into account the home runs, hit batters, strikeouts, walks, fly ball percentage, line drive percentage, and ground ball percentage. Using all these stats in which the pitcher has total control over, you can get a clearer picture of their true ability as a pitcher.

Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP)

You might argue that luck is also involve in home runs, so it shouldn’t be included in the DIPS. While it’s true that it involves luck, the pitcher’s skill is also factor in it. There are pitchers that give up on home runs, and there are those who prevent them. So how do measure actual pitching skill?

Another baseball sabermetrician in the name of Tom M. Tango has developed the Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP). It is a DIPS stat which is based on the Earned Run Average (ERA) but only focuses on the HRs, SOs, and BBs. It’s an easy stat that you can use. Its calculation is as follows:

FIP= (13*HR + 3*BB – 2*K)/IP + C; where C is the league-average FIP (3.20)

How to Apply DIPS and FIP

DIPS and FIP are used as the main basis of the pitcher’s value. They are not to be a catch-all replacement for ERA and BABIP, however. Their purpose is not to dismiss hits and other contact plays. They are only to break these into components that pitchers have control over.

Though FIP has a more predictive future performance compared to ERA, it is not the law. There are pitchers who can outperform their FIP over a long career. You can only use FIP projections in making smarter decisions and lining up better players.

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