What is WHIP in Baseball?

A pitching statistic that measures a pitchers effectiveness.
Written by Mark Bailey
Last updated on

WHIP stands for Walks plus Hits per Inning Pitched and is a key metric that evaluates a pitcher’s ability to prevent batters from reaching base. Our exploration will dive into how WHIP is calculated and its importance in gauging a pitcher’s effectiveness.

baseball pitcher Roger Clemens
  • WHIP stands for “Walks and Hits per Innings Pitched” and is a pitching statistic in baseball that tells you the average number of walks and hits per inning that a pitcher gives up.
  • Calculating WHIP is simple: add the number of walks (base on balls) plus hits, then divide by innings pitched.
  • WHIP does not measure hit batters, errors, or fielder’s choice base runners; it also will not tell you how many bases are given up – all types of hits count as one.
  • A good WHIP in baseball is going to be anywhere around 1; only two pitchers with over 1000 innings have had a career-low below 1.
  • It can be used to evaluate success but should be combined with ERA for a more complete perspective; there is a strong correlation between lower WHIPS and wins due to fewer scoring opportunities from baserunners allowed.

What does WHIP mean? 

WHIP stands for “Walks and Hits per Innings Pitched” and is a pitching statistic in baseball that tells you the average number of walks and hits per inning that a pitcher gives up. It is a simple statistic you use to determine how many hits and walks on average a pitcher gives up. You can use this to see the potential for a pitcher to give up runs. Each baserunner is a potential run. 

How to calculate a pitcher’s WHIP?

Calculating a pitcher’s WHIP is simple. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Add the number of walks (base on balls) and hits that a pitcher surrenders.
  2. Then you divide that number by the number of innings pitched.

The end number is your pitcher’s WHIP. You should keep in mind that the WHIP is a statistic based on average. If your pitcher has a limited number of innings, then that average may not be an accurate measure of their effectiveness. 

What does WHIP not measure?

You should know that WHIP is not an accurate measurement for all baserunners. WHIP only counts for walks and hits. However, if a player is hit by a pitch, that is not covered. Batters who reach base by a fielding or throwing error are not measured.

Also, baserunners who get on because of a fielder’s choice are not measured. WHIP also will not tell you how many bases a pitcher gives up. For example, a single, double, triple, or homer all count as the same type of hit in WHIP. So if you have a pitcher who gives up a lot of walks and one that gives up a lot of triples – they may have the same WHIP. 

What is a good WHIP?

Looking at WHIP statistics, you will see that the better pitchers will have a lower WHIP. If pitchers have a higher WHIP, that means they allow more baserunners. The more baserunners you have, the more scoring opportunities you have. Pitchers with a lower WHIP reduce baserunners and tend to give up fewer runs. 

A good WHIP in baseball is going to be anywhere around a 1. A career WHIP below 1 is rare. There are only two pitchers with a minimum of 1,000 innings pitched that have a WHIP below 1. 

Is WHIP a good indicator of a pitcher’s success?

WHIP is a good indicator of a pitcher’s success. It is not the only statistic used to measure pitching success. However, WHIP is a good indicator of a pitcher’s success. If you don’t put a lot of runners on base, then there’s a better chance of success. To get a better evaluation of a pitcher, you should use WHIP and ERA together. 

Does WHIP correlate to wins?

WHIP does have a strong correlation to wins. The fewer baserunners you allow, the harder it is for the other team to score. If you can minimize the number of runs the other team scores, then you can improve your chances of winning. If you have a pitcher with a lower WHIP, it is a good indication of their control. If you have a pitcher with a high WHIP, they are probably walking batters or surrendering hits because of a lack of control.

What WHIP does not consider is fielding errors and offensive output. This means you could have a very effective pitcher but an ineffective defense behind them. It also could mean that your pitcher doesn’t give up a lot of runs, but your offense doesn’t score enough to support them. So while there is a correlation, there are some exceptions. 

Best WHIP pitchers of all time

Here’s a list of the top ten best WHIP pitchers of all time. Notice the first three are Hall of Famers.

1.Addie Joss0.9678
2.Ed Walsh0.9996
3.Mariano Rivera1.0003
4.Jacob deGrom1.0023
5.Clayton Kershaw1.0035
6.Chris Sale1.0423
7.John Ward1.0435
8.Pedro Martinez1.0544
9.Christy Mathewson1.0581
10.Trevor Hoffman1.0584

After the top three, the next two pitchers are current players – Clayton Kershaw and Jason deGrom. The top five spots range from .96 to 1.01. An interesting fact for you to consider – Cy Young hits the list at number 45 at 1.12. You may recognize Cy Young’s name as the name of the award given to the best pitcher each year. 

The single-season record holder is Clayton Kershaw in 2016. Kershaw posted a 0.725 WHIP for the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

More FAQ

Who has the lowest WHIP in MLB history?

The lowest recorded WHIP in MLB history for a season is Pedro Martinez. In 2000 Pedro Martinez posted a 0.7373 WHIP for the Boston Red Sox. Addie Joss holds the record for career WHIP with a 0.9876. 

What is the average WHIP in MLB?

According to Baseball Reference, the WHIP average of the last few years has been around 1.3. The WHIP average in 2021 was 1.297. The WHIP average in 2020 was 1.327. In 2019, the WHIP average was 

Does WHIP include hit batters?

The WHIP average does not include hit batters. In addition to HBP (hit by pitch), errors and the fielder’s choice base runners are not included in the average. You only include walks and hits in this average. 

Why was WHIP created?

WHIP was created for rotisserie fantasy baseball. It is now used with ERA to evaluate pitcher effectiveness. WHIP falls under the sabermetric umbrella. Sabermetrics is an objective way to evaluate baseball statistics. Statistics like WHIP allow you to focus on the numbers rather than the names of popular players. 

Who came up with the WHIP stat in baseball?

The statistic dates back to 1979. You might not recognize the name Daniel Okrent, but he is credited with creating the original stat. Okrent created the stat for rotisserie league fantasy baseball and initially called it “innings pitched ratio.”

Fantasy baseball players in 1979 often used the newspaper to score points. Newspapers did not list batters hit by pitches, so Okrent did not include it in the ratio. 

How is WHIP different from ERA?

The main difference between WHIP and ERA is that WHIP measures the number of baserunners your pitcher allows (via walks and hits), while ERA measures the number of runs your pitcher allows. The two stats together can truly correlate with how effective a pitcher is. Just because your pitcher puts runners on base does not mean that those runners will score. Using the two statistics together will give you a more complete perspective.