Luck leaders and WHIP

Sorry for missing a couple of days this week. I’ve been having a little bit of writer’s block. I think today’s post should be interesting, though. We’ve been looking a lot at lucky pitchers lately, but we’ve never talked about WHIP. Today, we’re gonna take a look at the luckiest and unluckiest WHIPs.

A lot of people look at WHIP as a measure of a pitcher’s true ability. While WHIP, independently, is all right, it is far from perfect.

The concept behind WHIP is sound. It is a measure of how many batters the pitcher allows to reach base. The primary objective of a pitcher is to keep runners off base and subsequently prevent runs. The main flaw with WHIP, though, is that hits are included in the stat, and hits are largely influenced by luck.

Today, we’ll look at something I cooked up a while back, DIPS WHIP, which tries to correct the flaws with WHIP. Instead of using the pitcher’s actual hits, it uses his batted ball breakdown to determine his expected number of hits. In addition, DIPS WHIP uses a league average line drive rate and corrects the other three batted balls accordingly.

I considered including hit by pitch numbers—in addition to walks—because it puts batters on base and it is directly influenced by the pitcher. I decided against it, for now, mostly because actual WHIP doesn’t use it, and they didn’t mesh as nicely. It’s something I’ll probably change in the future.

DIPS WHIP – WHIP leaders

Luckiest

Requirements: Any pitcher with 10 or more starts and a DIPS WHIP – WHIP greater than 0.07

LASTFIRSTGGSIPERALIPS ERAWHIPDIPS WHIPK/9BB/9K/BBxGB%LOB%BABIPHR/FBLD%DIPS WHIP – WHIP
HarenDan1919129.32.303.771.001.197.032.233.1641.3384.910.247.1415.040.19
GuthrieJeremy2014105.73.073.910.991.166.391.793.5744.1677.750.259.5716.930.17
SosaJorge111164.33.924.571.211.375.323.221.6538.6971.840.267.1418.450.16
MarquisJason1818105.33.674.651.261.425.303.501.5147.4678.560.2510.6216.710.16
BergmannJason121266.74.324.171.201.356.893.651.8932.6469.770.248.3315.660.15
HernandezOrlando141484.33.204.111.131.287.263.632.0038.4380.950.239.5211.760.15
YoungChris1818109.71.973.651.021.178.782.952.9730.8883.330.252.7215.700.15
GermanoJustin111164.73.904.821.131.274.591.812.5447.1272.510.269.5915.240.14
PerezOliver151594.73.144.101.161.298.083.522.3030.7182.150.248.2118.220.13
TrachselSteve171792.74.956.281.511.643.014.370.6939.6371.880.278.1517.430.13
MaineJohn1818114.32.913.861.171.297.563.382.2336.2281.790.267.4816.520.12
VerlanderJustin17171093.143.981.151.277.933.222.4642.6280.490.268.4016.450.12
BuehrleMark1818123.72.984.201.081.205.171.673.0943.3482.910.2610.1415.230.12
LowryNoah1717107.33.355.031.411.525.374.611.1646.3278.150.285.3618.290.11
BannisterBrian1313803.714.441.241.354.842.701.7939.1671.280.283.5416.290.11
BlantonJoseph20201423.363.821.111.225.511.583.4847.1573.630.277.1918.660.11
GarlandJon1818121.73.854.641.261.363.922.591.5143.7072.140.276.3422.460.10
HudsonTim20201293.354.001.191.295.512.092.6360.7372.180.304.8216.070.10
WangChien-Ming1616110.33.434.431.201.304.402.202.0057.5174.070.287.3217.650.10
GlavineTom2020123.74.155.171.301.404.222.911.4542.6574.830.279.9321.010.10
GorzelannyThomas19191253.244.361.241.335.902.592.2842.5778.770.286.4917.460.09
LackeyJohn1919126.72.984.051.161.257.322.343.1243.6881.210.287.9720.260.09
MarcumShaun2512883.683.831.171.257.572.972.5539.5283.540.2415.3817.120.08
GaudinChad1919113.33.184.551.421.505.564.211.3252.2278.980.294.9018.730.08
PennyBrad1818116.72.394.041.191.276.332.622.4151.5980.410.303.0319.210.08
CainMatthew1818114.73.534.361.351.436.594.241.5637.5776.090.294.7016.760.08
ZitoBarry1818104.74.904.681.451.525.684.471.2740.6669.990.288.5921.570.07
HillRichard17171043.813.811.141.218.312.773.0036.4680.970.2614.7521.920.07
CookAaron19191254.684.851.391.462.662.451.0956.9870.280.2911.3218.820.07
LooperBraden161695.34.724.751.381.454.063.021.3448.9269.190.299.2822.800.07
HirshJason17171014.904.571.351.425.883.741.5729.7571.800.269.8818.210.07
PeavyJacob18181192.193.411.061.139.452.573.6845.5780.440.292.7516.990.07
WakefieldTim1818112.74.474.711.341.415.113.361.5239.5673.880.2710.4922.010.07
LillyTed1919120.73.513.611.061.137.832.093.7535.0174.470.278.2316.290.07

Unluckiest

Requirements: Any pitcher with 10 or more starts and a DIPS WHIP – WHIP less than -0.07

LASTFIRSTGGSIPERALIPS ERAWHIPDIPS WHIPK/9BB/9K/BBxGB%LOB%BABIPHR/FBLD%DIPS WHIP – WHIP
SeoJae1110528.134.741.921.544.852.771.7537.8864.330.3913.4121.00-0.38
DukeZachary171793.35.795.181.751.483.182.121.5051.4269.740.3810.0020.83-0.27
JacksonEdwin171674.77.234.621.891.637.835.061.5542.4565.320.3811.8319.05-0.26
FossumCasey3110677.524.511.791.545.782.961.9547.9764.940.3717.1122.31-0.25
GarciaFreddy1111585.904.321.601.387.762.952.6339.1373.890.3617.3925.79-0.22
ColonBartolo141479.76.444.371.621.416.672.492.6838.6067.860.3612.9317.69-0.21
WeaverJeff121259.76.344.831.641.444.832.262.1337.1062.370.365.2118.67-0.20
PadillaVicente151580.76.694.801.811.625.243.901.3447.6467.810.3512.9022.82-0.19
OlsenScott1919103.35.234.311.661.517.144.351.6439.7073.000.3410.1622.65-0.15
MillwoodKevin161687.35.774.461.641.506.903.611.9144.2270.880.3412.2619.53-0.14
JohnsonRandy101056.73.812.821.151.0111.442.065.5440.2976.010.3412.5018.75-0.14
SimontacchiJason121266.36.114.811.581.455.162.582.0036.0567.020.359.8019.83-0.13
SantanaErvin18181045.974.341.541.417.183.292.1834.3272.700.3114.6518.66-0.13
KazmirScott2020118.34.184.031.561.439.284.721.9742.7777.820.359.1615.38-0.13
HernandezFelix1515913.663.191.381.258.512.473.4458.7477.720.3613.5617.45-0.13
TejedaRobinson1717866.704.931.741.626.595.131.2933.2268.860.3211.3514.63-0.12
WellsDavid1717964.314.251.461.345.162.342.2040.4475.190.338.0020.00-0.12
DavisDoug1919111.74.194.771.731.616.375.001.2745.9679.850.349.0920.16-0.12
PerezOdalis1919101.35.685.261.641.524.623.201.4443.3067.950.347.5819.62-0.12
SchillingCurt151594.34.204.031.361.256.771.813.7439.2275.970.339.3017.68-0.11
CapuanoChris1616825.163.841.541.447.683.951.9444.8470.700.3310.0018.08-0.10
SabathiaCarsten2020140.33.783.501.201.108.021.286.2542.5175.700.339.9416.67-0.10
LieberJon1412784.734.031.451.356.232.542.4548.4570.620.349.4627.00-0.10
BaekChaSeung111164.35.744.131.411.316.441.823.5436.9961.920.346.7424.22-0.10
BelisleMatt1818109.35.023.781.391.296.011.983.0444.3269.200.3311.1121.41-0.10
WolfRandy1818102.74.734.001.451.358.243.422.4140.4571.630.338.1318.81-0.10
ArroyoBronson1919118.74.784.051.471.375.922.962.0034.4570.900.336.4021.59-0.10
BakerTimothy1010585.433.901.331.246.832.023.3838.4664.900.3211.2724.73-0.09
BushDavid1817107.34.864.111.331.246.712.013.3345.0567.410.338.7020.52-0.09
ByrdPaul16161024.414.161.341.254.680.538.8338.0374.540.338.9220.21-0.09
BonserBoof1818103.34.704.191.491.408.273.572.3244.0975.740.3312.8216.56-0.09
WestbrookJake101053.36.084.241.541.465.403.881.3952.9163.000.3212.7719.55-0.08
HamelsColbert1919124.73.833.221.241.169.102.244.0638.5181.500.3114.1917.55-0.08
delaRosaJorge1918106.35.164.971.561.485.503.131.7640.2772.100.339.5218.75-0.08
MarothMike131378.35.065.551.661.583.223.790.8543.0179.460.3114.4219.86-0.08
FoggJosh161587.35.364.851.551.485.563.091.8038.4171.660.329.9222.73-0.07
VargasClaudio171583.74.524.461.491.427.853.762.0932.3182.020.3113.9321.29-0.07

DIPS WHIP Top 25

Here’s a list of the Top 25 pitchers with at least 10 starts, sorted by DIPS WHIP.

LASTFIRSTGGSIPERALIPS ERAWHIPDIPS WHIPK/9BB/9K/BBxGB%LOB%BABIPHR/FBLD%DIPS WHIP – WHIP
JohnsonRandy101056.73.812.821.151.0111.442.065.5440.2976.010.3412.5018.75-0.14
SantanaJohan19191282.603.321.021.079.352.184.2934.4487.910.2610.8316.520.05
ShieldsJames1919135.73.983.351.051.087.831.335.9040.8275.710.2713.5014.850.03
SabathiaCarsten2020140.33.783.501.201.108.021.286.2542.5175.700.339.9416.67-0.10
BedardErik2020128.73.223.101.101.1110.912.664.1144.9778.950.3012.1717.340.01
LillyTed1919120.73.513.611.061.137.832.093.7535.0174.470.278.2316.290.07
PeavyJacob18181192.193.411.061.139.452.573.6845.5780.440.292.7516.990.07
VazquezJavier1818121.73.773.661.081.148.432.074.0737.3575.540.2710.9714.910.06
GuthrieJeremy2014105.73.073.910.991.166.391.793.5744.1677.750.259.5716.930.17
HamelsColbert1919124.73.833.221.241.169.102.244.0638.5181.500.3114.1917.55-0.08
BeckettJosh16161023.443.421.141.178.121.854.3847.0272.330.305.6614.750.03
SmoltzJohn1717105.73.073.431.231.178.181.874.3644.1380.400.327.8918.77-0.06
YoungChris1818109.71.973.651.021.178.782.952.9730.8883.330.252.7215.700.15
HarenDan1919129.32.303.771.001.197.032.233.1641.3384.910.247.1415.040.19
BondermanJeremy17171133.503.481.171.198.201.914.2944.8176.790.309.6015.980.02
BuehrleMark1818123.72.984.201.081.205.171.673.0943.3482.910.2610.1415.230.12
RodriguezWandy1717104.73.873.541.181.207.742.243.4642.2174.410.2910.0017.250.02
EscobarKelvim1717115.33.043.571.141.207.342.502.9444.2475.440.294.8416.370.06
HillRichard17171043.813.811.141.218.312.773.0036.4680.970.2614.7521.920.07
SheetsBen1919119.33.393.741.161.216.791.893.6036.7679.660.279.1518.040.05
BlantonJoseph20201423.363.821.111.225.511.583.4847.1573.630.277.1918.660.11
HarangAaron2020133.73.703.921.201.238.082.493.2440.5173.710.296.9617.970.03
MatsuzakaDaisuke1919125.73.943.501.271.238.952.863.1337.2975.820.319.1519.44-0.04
TowersJosh1610715.074.151.301.246.851.394.9144.4070.330.3114.6320.25-0.06
HendricksonMark221080.33.923.741.271.247.392.582.8746.5874.940.3111.5419.76-0.03

Thoughts about the data

As expected, nearly all of the guys on the “Luckiest” list have unsustainably low BABIPs, and nearly all of the guys on the “Unluckiest” list have high BABIPs.

While Dan Haren, Jeremy Guthrie and Chris Young are at the top of the “Luckiest” list, this is only because their WHIPs are ridiculous… around 1.00. They will increase, but they should still be quite good.

Oliver Perez has been a nice surprise for Mets fans this year, but he is getting a little lucky with his WHIP. This is mostly because he’s still walking a fair number of batters. Hopefully he’ll find a way to limit them in years to come.

Mentioned in the LIPS ERA edition of “Luck Leaders,” Steve Trachsel also appears at the bottom of the DIPS WHIP list. Worst LIPS ERA. Worst DIPS WHIP. I shouldn’t have to say it, but he’s just been pitching terribly.

Randy Johnson has been simply fantastic this year. He’s still in small sample size territory, but his 1.15 WHIP is actually unlucky. It should be 1.01 (!)

While Ervin Santana has been getting unlucky with LIPS ERA and DIPS WHIP, his expected level is still not very good. Continue staying away, as I’ve stressed all year.

Despite a sub-7.00 K/9, Curt Schilling still manages a 1.25 DIPS WHIP. If he can raise the Ks upon his return, he could be a nice bargain for those who trade for him soon.

Scott Kazmir‘s 1.56 WHIP is bad, but his 1.43 DIPS WHIP isn’t much better. He really has to find a way to stop walking so many guys.

My man Felix Hernandez is getting unlucky, too. Should be sporting a 1.25 WHIP. He’s an interesting guy, and one I’ll probably look at more in-depth in the next week or two.

Cole Hamels appears on the unlucky list, just as he did in our LIPS ERA post. He has a history of injuries in the minors, but if he can remain healthy, he is one of the best pitchers in the game.

Wandy Rodriguez‘s WHIP is for real. He could still regress a little, but he needs to be owned in all leagues until—if, really—this happens.

Concluding thoughts

Just some things for future reference.

In the future, I will no longer be referring to actual ground ball percentage. I will instead be referring to expected ground ball percentage, or xGB%, which is what a pitcher’s ground ball percentage would be given a league average line drive rate. This number appears in the tables above. The difference between GB% and xGB% won’t be huge for most guys, but it will be slightly more accurate. Thought I should tell you this in case you’re ever wondering why it doesn’t match the ground ball rate on the THT Player Pages.

Also, sorry about the names given in the tables. Carsten Sabathia. Colbert Hamels. Richard Hill. I’ve been meaning to fix these in my database, but I forgot about it until today and am running a little short on time. Regardless, I think you’ll be able to figure out who I’m talking about. They’ll be fixed next time, for sure.

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