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View Full Version : I don't care much for FIP, anyone care to explain why I'm wrong.



OGB
02-08-2012, 10:49 PM
For starters, the best explanation I've read for the numbers used in the formula is that they were devised using a matrix with run values for each play outcome. Maybe I just need a mathematician to explain to me how this is possible, but this seems to be an oversimplification of all the possible outcomes after a pitch.

Johnny Cueto has been knocked for having a lower ERA than FIP, but thats largely because he doesnt have high strikeout numbers. FIP doesnt take into account that when a pitcher is changing speeds and locating well, pitches that are hit are generally more poorly hit and easy to field.
It likewise doesnt consider the intangibles of the pitcher in question. If a pitcher gives up a walk and then a double that his RF lost in the sun, a really good pitcher can more often buckle down and escape the inning giving up one or fewer runs, a poor pitcher may let a misfortune like this open up the floodgates to a bad inning.
Lastly, it gives no consideration to how well a pitcher holds runners or picks them off. A pitcher with a slow delivery/bad pickoff move is giving the other team a huge advantage with their ability to steal bases.


In short, I feel there are plenty of good stats (classic and more modern advanced metrics) in place to judge a pitchers worth. Any one care to explain to me what I might be missing?

brad1176
02-09-2012, 07:39 AM
I stay out of the FIP discussions, mainly because I never got into using metrics much. I think they're useful, but I personally don't like breaking things down that far. Just know if you go against the metrics guys on here, you're going to have a long day! :laugh:

Cant Touch This
02-09-2012, 07:42 AM
You're not alone. I don't have much faith in a stat that cherry picks data and assigns an arbitrary coefficient to each outcome. You won't find a supporting argument from me!

Someday, we won't see players with names taking the field. It will be just a bunch of really big numbers standing out there. You know, because with stats like xFIP, why bother playing the game? We already know what's going to happen...

Alpha Zero
02-09-2012, 07:51 AM
I don't put too much stock into FIP either, but that's mainly because I don't think it tells you much more than what you can easily glean from looking at K/9, BB/9, WHIP, and ERA. It's still an interesting metric. I always enjoy finding pitchers who consistently outperform their FIP since I think that's the best statistical indicator of "craftiness."

OGB
02-09-2012, 09:13 AM
I don't put too much stock into FIP either, but that's mainly because I don't think it tells you much more than what you can easily glean from looking at K/9, BB/9, WHIP, and ERA. It's still an interesting metric. I always enjoy finding pitchers who consistently outperform their FIP since I think that's the best statistical indicator of "craftiness."

While I don't put much stock in it, I do agree that it's an interesting concept.
And I second what you mentioned about WHIP, ERA, etc.

dcameron24
02-09-2012, 11:21 AM
I dabble in the metrics, but would hardly consider myself an expert. However, FIP (in theory) is supposed to represent everything that a pitcher can control (BB, K, HR, etc). It's works much better for predicting future performance/trends than for measuring a single season.


If a pitcher gives up a walk and then a double that his RF lost in the sun, a really good pitcher can more often buckle down and escape the inning giving up one or fewer runs, a poor pitcher may let a misfortune like this open up the floodgates to a bad inning.

I came up with a random formula to sort of measure what you are talking about. I did (Runs/Hits+BB+IBB+HBP). This essentially shows the percentage of runners that get on base that end up scoring for any given pitcher. I was actually surprised by the results.

2011 Season (IP > 50)
Arredondo - 26%
Masset - 26%
Cordero - 27%
Ondrusek - 27%
Bray - 28%
Cueto - 28%
Chapman - 31%
Wood - 34%
Willis - 35%
Leake - 36%
Bailey - 39%
LeCure - 39%
Volquez - 40%
Arroyo -42%

To be fair there are plenty of holes in the idea, but just a quick generalization shows some of the results you were looking for. I used Runs, which adds in unearned runs, but you could easily show ER instead.

alett12
02-09-2012, 11:27 AM
Personaly, what ever metrics they use to figure FIP i don't trust due to the fact it is and extremely easy stat to out preform and there is no possible way for it to be ballpark nuetral like they say it is.

IamRV
02-09-2012, 12:40 PM
I dabble in the metrics, but would hardly consider myself an expert. However, FIP (in theory) is supposed to represent everything that a pitcher can control (BB, K, HR, etc). It's works much better for predicting future performance/trends than for measuring a single season.



I came up with a random formula to sort of measure what you are talking about. I did (Runs/Hits+BB+IBB+HBP). This essentially shows the percentage of runners that get on base that end up scoring for any given pitcher. I was actually surprised by the results.

2011 Season (IP > 50)
Arredondo - 26%
Masset - 26%
Cordero - 27%
Ondrusek - 27%
Bray - 28%
Cueto - 28%
Chapman - 31%
Wood - 34%
Willis - 35%
Leake - 36%
Bailey - 39%
LeCure - 39%
Volquez - 40%
Arroyo -42%

To be fair there are plenty of holes in the idea, but just a quick generalization shows some of the results you were looking for. I used Runs, which adds in unearned runs, but you could easily show ER instead.

Are you using runs that score after the pitcher is replaced?

I've always had a problem with assigning earned runs only to the guy that allowed them on base. IOW, the reliever should have some accountability IMO. Don't know how you could assign it other than partial ERA, IOW, if a runner inherited on third scores then the reliever is 25% responsible and the pitcher that allowed him to get there. 50-50 split for runner at second and 25-75 split for someone on first when inherited.

Some guys may enter the game with a different attitude if those runners were going to be accountable to them.

dcameron24
02-09-2012, 12:44 PM
Are you using runs that score after the pitcher is replaced?

I've always had a problem with assigning earned runs only to the guy that allowed them on base. IOW, the reliever should have some accountability IMO. Don't know how you could assign it other than partial ERA, IOW, if a runner inherited on third scores then the reliever is 25% responsible and the pitcher that allowed him to get there. 50-50 split for runner at second and 25-75 split for someone on first when inherited.

Some guys may enter the game with a different attitude if those runners were going to be accountable to them.

I was just using Runs Scored. Basically of all the runners said pitcher allows on base how many score? No matter how they score...

dcameron24
02-09-2012, 12:54 PM
I was just using Runs Scored. Basically of all the runners said pitcher allows on base how many score? No matter how they score...

If you change it to Earned Runs instead of runs it makes some of the figures change drastically:

2011 Season (IP > 50)

Cueto - 22% (-6%)
Arredondo - 23% (-3%)
Ondrusek - 24% (-3%)
Masset - 25% (-1%)
Cordero - 26% (-1%)
Bray - 28%
Chapman - 30% (-1%)
Wood - 34%
Leake - 35% (-1%)
Willis - 35%
Bailey - 37% (-2%)
LeCure - 38% (-1%)
Volquez - 39% (-1%
Arroyo - 40% (-2%)

[deleted]
02-09-2012, 01:32 PM
I'll throw my hat in the FIP ring - I think it is, overall, the best pitching metric we have. It erases defensive variations, downplays luck fluctuations, and only shows us what the pitcher himself did. I'll try to hit on a few points made here.

Johnny Cueto has been knocked for having a lower ERA than FIP, but thats largely because he doesnt have high strikeout numbers. FIP doesnt take into account that when a pitcher is changing speeds and locating well, pitches that are hit are generally more poorly hit and easy to field.

High strikeout rates are one of the easiest ways to evaluate a effective pitcher. History has shows us that those who miss bats the most consistently have the highest rates of success. There are always exceptions, sure, but this is almost always the case. There is no better result in an at-bat than a strikeout (at least, from the pitcher's perspective). As for the 'more poorly hit' thing - I could certainly see that, but history has also shown us that pitchers have very little control over a ball that has been hit, and that BABIP usually stabilizes itself around .300 (again, always exceptions! This is why you always look at a player's career performance as well). Some pitchers hold low career BABIPs, so we can chalk that up to more than luck, sure. But some others, like say, Randy Johnson (.291) and Roy Halladay (.292) don't. We can agree those are both excellent pitchers. Johnson was obviously a K machine, but Halladay is a "changing speeds and locating well" guy that we can see has been hit (when he is hit) just the same as anyone else.

a really good pitcher can more often buckle down and escape the inning giving up one or fewer runs, a poor pitcher may let a misfortune like this open up the floodgates to a bad inning.

Yeah, FIP can't show us this. No stat can show us this. Which is why 'intangibles' can't have much place in objectively evaluating players. It's just too subjective. Unless... you want to talk about LOB%.

Someday, we won't see players with names taking the field. It will be just a bunch of really big numbers standing out there. You know, because with stats like xFIP, why bother playing the game? We already know what's going to happen...

This is the most tired argument/joke in existence. As if traditional stats are any different. Numbers are numbers.

I don't put too much stock into FIP either, but that's mainly because I don't think it tells you much more than what you can easily glean from looking at K/9, BB/9, WHIP, and ERA. It's still an interesting metric. I always enjoy finding pitchers who consistently outperform their FIP since I think that's the best statistical indicator of "craftiness."

Well, FIP is meant to present most of those stats to you in one tidy package, scaled to ERA. So, that's a bit like saying, "I don't care much for OPS because there's nothing there that I can't easily glean from looking at a guy's singles, doubles, triples, homers, walks..."

Though I agree, if a guy consistently outpitches his FIP through his career (Matt Cain!) that definitely is worth noting.

Personaly, what ever metrics they use to figure FIP i don't trust due to the fact it is and extremely easy stat to out preform and there is no possible way for it to be ballpark nuetral like they say it is.

What evidence do you have that it is so easy to outperform? Any... at all. Please. As for the ballpark thing, I responded to one of your posts in this thread:

http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=93797

explaining why, yes, xFIP can certainly be park neutral. You never responded, so maybe you never saw it. Or maybe you're just ignoring it. You'd probably just say I'm 'full of ****' again anyway.

For all the other stuff - not taking into account base stealers, pick offs, slow deliveries, whatever - well... ERA doesn't exactly include that either. FIP isn't a magical thing, it's meant only to look at the things I pitcher has direct control over. It's been proven to be more effective than ERA to evaluate future performance, but it still should be used in conjunction with other statistics. That's the big message here, I think. No one is claiming that FIP is the end-all number in saying "THIS GUY IS GOOD" or "THIS GUY IS BAD." It's just a single stat among many. We use it so often because it essentially replaces ERA - for every hole FIP has, ERA has about 6. But context is everything. Never forget that trends, career numbers, etc. are just as important in evaluating a player's performance and future potential.

alett12
02-09-2012, 01:35 PM
There are way to many variables for FIP to actually be a stat you would see on the back of a baseball card, IMO those are the only ones that really show what a player did and there are none that show what a player actually can do.

[deleted]
02-09-2012, 01:38 PM
The notion that FIP presents only an indicator of future performance and not what a pitcher actually did is really silly, yet I see that line of thought a lot. To be clear: FIP is based entirely one what a pitcher has already done, and can be used, to at least some degree, to evaluate a completed season.

And FIP has too many variations for a baseball card?! Are you even keeping up here? The entire point of FIP is to GET RID of the tireless amount of variations in ERA and strip it down to the bare essentials.

alett12
02-09-2012, 01:47 PM
;2534499']The notion that FIP presents only an indicator of future performance and not what a pitcher actually did is really silly, yet I see that line of thought a lot. To be clear: FIP is based entirely one what a pitcher has already done, and can be used, to at least some degree, to evaluate a completed season.

And FIP has too many variations for a baseball card?! Are you even keeping up here? The entire point of FIP is to GET RID of the tireless amount of variations in ERA and strip it down to the bare essentials.

You think that all these variables that skew a pitcher's FIP K's, flyballs, grounders, HRA (which you can't say it its ballpark independent), ect., are the bare essentials. ERA is how many runs you gave up from guys you let on base via hits, walks, and HBP there aren't many ways you can screw that up unlike FIP which takes out half those because a feilder has to be involved.

brad1176
02-09-2012, 01:58 PM
This is why I stay out of the FIP arguments. :lol:

[deleted]
02-09-2012, 02:11 PM
You think that all these variables that skew a pitcher's FIP K's, flyballs, grounders, HRA (which you can't say it its ballpark independent), ect., are the bare essentials. ERA is how many runs you gave up from guys you let on base via hits, walks, and HBP there aren't many ways you can screw that up unlike FIP which takes out half those because a feilder has to be involved.

You're talking about ingredients, not variations. And you've got it completely backwards - you say there "aren't many ways you can screw that up." FIP looks at Ks, BBs, HBP, and HRs. There isn't much variation there. They happen or they don't. ERA looks at Runs, and oooh mah god can those fluctuate. You have three Jonny Gomes in the outfield? Too bad, every ball that lands and leads to a run is on your ERA. Your third baseman fields a grounder, decides not to make a throw, and the reliever that then replaces you gives up a 2R HR? That's on your ERA. You slept with your manager's wife, and out of spite he tells all the other players to purposefully let you give up a ton of runs? Yup, ERA.

As for the homerun neutral thing, dear lord... Have you read the post I linked you to? xFIP subs in league average HR rate. Can you at least recognize what I am saying right now?

alett12
02-09-2012, 02:17 PM
;2534531']You're talking about ingredients, not variations. And you've got it completely backwards - you say there "aren't many ways you can screw that up." FIP looks at Ks, BBs, HBP, and HRs. There isn't much variation there. They happen or they don't. ERA looks at Runs, and oooh mah god can those fluctuate. You have three Jonny Gomes in the outfield? Too bad, every ball that lands and leads to a run is on your ERA. Your third baseman fields a grounder, decides not to make a throw, and the reliever that then replaces you gives up a 2R HR? That's on your ERA. You slept with your manager's wife, and out of spite he tells all the other players to purposefully let you give up a ton of runs? Yup, ERA.

As for the homerun neutral thing, dear lord... Have you read the post I linked you to? xFIP subs in league average HR rate. Can you at least recognize what I am saying right now?

I still don't agree with it because all of those things are VARIABLES ERA comes from 2 FIP has 4 one of which, Ks, can be acounted for with pitching style. So FIP isn't an accurate tool to judge pitchers on.

[deleted]
02-09-2012, 02:59 PM
Okay, so I'm getting that you simply just don't understand either of these stats and why people debate them in the first place. That's fine, I'll let you keep on believing this.

But I would love if you could at least acknowledge the neutral ballpark thing.

OGB
02-09-2012, 04:16 PM
[Deleted], thanks for the reply. You made some good points. I guess one thing that will never sit well with me about FIP is how the numbers involved seem arbitrary. I guess I should just trust that Tango is a competent enough sabremetrician that his 13, 3, and 2 multipliers are accurate.
Splitting hairs a bit at this point, but you mentioned ERA doesn't take into account pick offs, holding runners, slow delivery, etc. I would argue that it does. If a runner is able to steal second and third with one out, scores on a sac fly, and the next batter strikes out; that run shows up on the ERA, but wouldve never scored without the SBs.

Nathan
02-09-2012, 04:38 PM
I'm not the hugest supporter of sabermetrics, but I'm not exactly an opponent to it either. FIP serves it's purpose (I personally prefer ERA, but, whatever). It is just one stat. It doesn't tell the whole story. People should treat it as that. You need more information besides FIP to determine whether or not a pitcher is any good. Some types of pitchers are easier to judge based on his FIP, others, not so much (contact pitchers). The key is, you really need to have a decent defensive team to carry a bunch of contact pitchers. (It'd be like putting a flyball pitcher in GABP-it won't work, but, you can put that same pitcher in Petco, and he'd be fine). You just need to know what works and doesn't, and stats alone can't do that. You need a series of stats, and you need to know what that players tendencies are.

nmculbreth
02-09-2012, 04:47 PM
FIP isn't a perfect tool, but as a whole I think it's a better indicator of future performance than ERA.

For all of the talk about the complexity of FIP, you're only account for variables that can easily be measured. When you start looking at ERA, you've got to account for variables that aren't as easily measured - like BABIP and the strand rate.

I'm not saying FIP should be used in all circumstances, but when a pitcher is struggling I think it's useful to look at his FIP to get a better idea if those struggles are related to something that can be controlled or if it can be attributed to variance in circumstances largely outside of the pitchers control.

At some point the ability to consistently outperform your FIP does become a skill and can be projected going forward, but I don't think that is a good enough to completely disregard FIP as a useful tool.

alett12
02-10-2012, 01:45 PM
The thing is IF you are using FIP as an indicator for future preformance then it automatically becomes a projection tool. I don't care for projections and the only reason I use them is fantasy baseball. So I'll give it a little credit but I don't like it as a stat that could be used for arbitration hearings and contract talks.

[deleted]
02-10-2012, 02:28 PM
[Deleted], thanks for the reply. You made some good points. I guess one thing that will never sit well with me about FIP is how the numbers involved seem arbitrary. I guess I should just trust that Tango is a competent enough sabremetrician that his 13, 3, and 2 multipliers are accurate.
Splitting hairs a bit at this point, but you mentioned ERA doesn't take into account pick offs, holding runners, slow delivery, etc. I would argue that it does. If a runner is able to steal second and third with one out, scores on a sac fly, and the next batter strikes out; that run shows up on the ERA, but wouldve never scored without the SBs.

No problem, I love talking this stuff, even though there are people much better versed than I am out there. To be honest I haven't seen the exact algorithm they used to determine the coefficients, but I have seen the entire (similar) process Tango & Friends used to arrive at wOBA (probably my favorite all-around offensive stat) and the method is very convincing. IIRC, for wOBA they basically looked a 5 year period of baseball and looked at every base/out situation that occurred: ie, how many times there was a single hit with one out and a guy on first, how many times there was a HR with two outs and men on third and second, etc etc. For all variations. From there they determined the the expected run value of each respective hit, and used them as multipliers for 1B, 2B, etc. before scaling it to OBP. If their process was similar with FIP, I would trust it. For me the fact that history has shown us, time and time again, the predictive ability of FIP and its consistent relationship to ERA is enough for me to buy into it as a strong complement to earned run average.

The thing is IF you are using FIP as an indicator for future preformance then it automatically becomes a projection tool. I don't care for projections and the only reason I use them is fantasy baseball. So I'll give it a little credit but I don't like it as a stat that could be used for arbitration hearings and contract talks.

All stats are used as indicators of future performance. That's one of the essential reasons we compile them in the first place. FIP is really no different from ERA, or IP, or any other stat in this regard. Well... except that it's better than those for doing so. (Also, neutral ballparks? Still waiting on a reply there.)

[deleted]
02-10-2012, 02:33 PM
Oh! And you have a good point about runners, but then we would also have to take into account the catcher's ability to throw potential base-stealers out, the infielders' ability to hold runners, and the scorer's decision on any plays (if a throw to second sails into CF and the scorer doesn't rule it an error, you have a guy going from first to third and the pitcher had nothing to do with it. What if there are no outs at the time and the guy scores on a sac fly or groundout?)

alett12
02-10-2012, 03:09 PM
;2534884']Oh! And you have a good point about runners, but then we would also have to take into account the catcher's ability to throw potential base-stealers out, the infielders' ability to hold runners, and the scorer's decision on any plays (if a throw to second sails into CF and the scorer doesn't rule it an error, you have a guy going from first to third and the pitcher had nothing to do with it. What if there are no outs at the time and the guy scores on a sac fly or groundout?)

Sac bunt/flys aren't counted for ERA

[deleted]
02-10-2012, 03:54 PM
That's me being stupid. Still, the point stands - that guy on third scores on a single when he normally doesn't.

Also, alett. Specifically talking to you, alett. ALETT. When I claimed xFIP was ballpark neutral you expressly called me out as being "full of ****" and when I showed that it was, you ignored me. And continue to do so. Can't you see that this hurts my feelings?

alett12
02-10-2012, 04:19 PM
;2534915']That's me being stupid. Still, the point stands - that guy on third scores on a single when he normally doesn't.

Also, alett. Specifically talking to you, alett. ALETT. When I claimed xFIP was ballpark neutral you expressly called me out as being "full of ****" and when I showed that it was, you ignored me. And continue to do so. Can't you see that this hurts my feelings?

Honestly i'm sorry and i was talking about the metrics community in genral but if you can't take it then you probably shouldn't be on a message board.

[deleted]
02-10-2012, 04:42 PM
Thank you, I'll find the strength to carry on.