Thursday, January 12, 2006

What's WHIP?

Yesterday, Bruce Sutter was elected into the Hall of Fame. His stats are pretty good, but not really that great, he only played in 12 seasons, but considering he invented or popularized the splitfinger-fastball, I'm okay with this decision. The Hall shouldn't be all about stats. I do not think he deserved it more than some other players on the Ballot though, but since he had only three years of eligibility, I understand why he was voted in now.
Tom Verducci from Sports Illustrated also thinks that someone else, Goose Gossage, should have been voted in instead of Sutter. And he gets a little carried away with his argumentation:
Remember, Gossage pitched most of his career in the AL, with the DH, and Sutter never faced a DH.
Well, this point certainly applies to starting pitchers, but Closers usually don't face pitchers, but pinch hitters. Although the average DH might be a little bit better than the average pinch hitter, I don't think the difference is that big that this is a real argument against Sutter.
But it gets better:
And yet look who was the tougher pitcher to hit, as defined by opponents' batting average and walks plus hits per inning pitched (see chart, right).
This sound like a solid argument, at least as long as you don't look at the actual chart:

Pitcher  BAA  WHIP
Gossage .228 1.232
Sutter  .230 1.140

If even Members of the BBWAA like Verducci don't know that a smaller WHIP is actually BETTER, no voting result is going to surprises me anymore.


Post a Comment

<< Home