A Beginner’s Guide to Baseball Stats: Pitching

Baseball Stats 101: Pitching

Understanding baseball pitching involves a blend of various baseball stats, each holding unique significance in assessing a pitcher’s performance. This guide to pitching statistics will help you make sense of the commonly used terms.

Standard Pitching Stats

Innings Pitched (IP)

“Innings Pitched” (IP) reflects the duration a pitcher stayed in a game. For example, if a pitcher gets pulled out in the fifth inning the decimal points like 5.1 or 5.2 show how many outs into an inning the pitcher achieved before being replaced.

Hits (H), Runs (R), & Earned Runs (ER)

The stats “Hits” (H), “Runs” (R), and “Earned Run”s (ER) give additional insights. H depicts whenever a batter reaches at least first base, excluding errors (E) and fielder’s choice (FC). R shows each instance the batter scores a run, while ER, a pitcher-exclusive stat, indicates that the run was a direct consequence of batter’s effort. Defensive errors or passed balls resulting in runs are not counted as ER.

Base on balls (BB), Strikes (S), & Home Runs (HR)

Statistics like “Base on Balls” (BB), “Strikes” (K), and “Home Runs” (HR) are straightforward. BB represents the number of times a batter was walked by the pitcher. K signifies the number of batters the pitcher struck out, while HR indicates home runs conceded by the pitcher.

Pitch count (PC) & Strikes (ST)

Another essential metric is the “Pitch Count” (PC), along with “Strikes” (ST). PC represents the total pitches thrown by a pitcher, while ST indicates the number of those pitches deemed a strike.

Wins (W) & Losses (L)

The stats “Wins” (W) and “Losses” (L) indicate the pitcher’s track record. They are determined by the pitcher on the mound when their team either took or relinquished the lead.

Save (S) & Hold (HLD)

In certain situations, a pitcher may collect a “Save” when they limit a potential tying game or prevent the opposition from winning. Alternatively, a middle reliever can earn a “Hold” if they enter the game with their team leading and manage to maintain it.

Perfect Game

A perfect game in baseball refers to a game in which a single pitcher from one team retires all 27 opposing batters in order, without any of them reaching base through hits (H), walks (BB), or errors (E). It is an extraordinary feat of pitching mastery, showcasing flawless performance and control on the mound. Perfect games are incredibly rare and highly coveted in the sport.

More Advanced Pitching Stats

Earned Run Average (ERA)

“Earned Run Average” (ERA) is another common stat where a lower number indicates better pitching. It’s calculated by dividing the earned runs (ER) by the number of innings pitched (IP) and multiplying by 9.

Field Independent Pitching (FIP) & Adjusted ERA (ERA+)

“Field Independent Pitching” (FIP) is a more comprehensive stat that considers strikes, walks, hit by pitches, and home runs, excluding defensive fielding factors. Meanwhile, “Adjusted ERA” (ERA+) factors in the pitcher’s home ballpark.

Walks plus Hits Per Inning Pitched (WHIP)

“Walks plus Hits Per Inning Pitched” (WHIP), which sums the number of base runners allowed by a pitcher per inning. A WHIP under 1.000 is deemed excellent for a season.

Understanding these baseball stats is essential for a comprehensive analysis of a pitcher’s performance. Nevertheless, there is always room for more advanced metrics and interpretations in baseball, which we will explore later.

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