Note: Bring your own roller skates to roll bounce night. Seriously.
Ever since it was created by Tom Tango, FIP (fielding independent pitching) has been the most conclusive way to judge pitchers. As most if not all of you know, FIP is a statistic that only counts what the pitcher is most responsible for. Using ERA, you don’t know if fielder A was eating a donut when the ball was hit in the air resulting in a double for batter X.
BABIP (batting average on balls in play) is also a fantastic statistic. It’s most often used as a means of determining how lucky or unlucky a pitcher is. If the pitcher has a high BABIP, it means that more than an average number of balls that get put into play by a batter are counting for hits. As we see above, there are more ways to judge a pitcher than merely looking at his ERA.
In this graph, I listed the top 10 FIP leaders with an ERA over 3.90. Matt Garza, for example, leads Major League Baseball in FIP (wow), but has an ERA that’s close to four. If you watch the MLB Network, you’ll hear analysts discuss how lousy pitchers such as Daniel Hudson or Travis Wood may be doing, when in fact their fielding independent numbers reveal that they’ve just been tortured by horrible defense and/or bad luck.