What Is WHIP In Baseball?


If you enjoy watching baseball, you likely have some familiarity with various player positions. One crucial position is the pitcher, and to gauge their performance, special numbers, including WHIP in baseball, come into play.

When you look at game scores, you might see some numbers for pitchers, like how many hits they get in 9 innings or their earned run average.

This article is about an important number called WHIP. What is WHIP in baseball? It stands for walks plus hits per inning pitched. Let’s find out more about how we figure this out and why it matters.

What Does WHIP Mean in Baseball

A pitcher’s main job is to stop the other team from scoring runs. WHIP in bBaseballis all about how well pitchers handle the runners from the other team.

At first, they called it the innings pitched ratio. In official baseball games, WHIP means walks plus hits per innings pitched. This is a way to count how many players from the other team a pitcher lets get on base in each inning. It shows how good the pitcher is at stopping them.

To figure out WHIP, you add up the total hits and walks, including the ones on purpose, and then divide that by the total innings pitched.

Here’s how you write it out: WHIP=BB+HIPWHIP=IPBB+H​

Remember, sometimes relief pitchers only play for part of an inning, like 0.1 IP for one out. But in math, 0.1+0.1+0.1=10.1+0.1+0.1=1.

WHIP is important because it stands for “Walks plus Hits per Inning Pitched.” It helps us see how well a pitcher is doing in a game. For example, a WHIP of 1.250 means the pitcher lets about 1.25 players from the other team on base in each inning.

This number is useful for understanding a pitcher’s overall performance over many games without getting confused by what happens in just one game. It tells us how effectively a pitcher stops the other team from getting on base.

What is a Good WHIP in Baseball?

WHIP in basketball, which stands for “walks plus hits per inning pitched,” is an important number in basketball. It tells us how many players from the other team a pitcher lets get on base in each inning. The lower the WHIP, the better the pitcher is doing.

We often look at WHIP each year to understand if a pitcher is doing well. Here’s a simple scale to know how good a pitcher is based on their WHIP:

  • 1.6: Not so good
  • 1.5: Could be better
  • 1.4: Below average
  • 1.3: Average
  • 1.2: Above average
  • 1.1: Really good
  • 1.0: Excellent

A pitcher with a WHIP higher than 1.3 might not be doing great. But if it’s below 1.1, they’re likely doing really well in professional baseball.

For context, the average WHIP scores in Major League Baseball were 1.270 in 2022, 1.297 in 2021, and 1.327 in 2020. You can find more stats like these on websites such as baseball-reference.

In simple terms, a good WHIP for a pitcher is around 1.00 or lower. This means, on average, the pitcher allows one or fewer players from the other team to get on base each inning. The lower the WHIP, the better the pitcher is at stopping the other team from scoring.

Looking at history, some pitchers have been exceptionally good. Players like Pedro Martinez and Clayton Kershaw had career WHIPs of 1.05 and 1.029, showing they were really good at keeping players from the other team off the bases.

In recent years, a typical pitcher has allowed 1.3 walks or hits per inning. But the very best pitchers, like Justin Verlander in 2022, lead with a WHIP of around 0.8, showing they are at an elite level.

The table below gives you an idea of the best and the tenth-best WHIP rankings in recent years:

SeasonBest (Lowest WHIP)Tenth Best
2022Verlander (0.83)Manoah (0.99)
2021Scherzer (0.86)Wainwright (1.06)
2020Maeda (0.75)Hendricks (1.00)
2010Cliff Lee (1.00)Josh Johnson (1.10)
2000Pedro Martinez (0.74)Jon Lieber (1.20)

These examples help us understand what is considered good in WHIP over the years, with the best pitchers consistently showing exceptional performances.

Factors That Affect WHIP In Baseball 

A pitcher’s WHIP, which stands for walks plus hits per inning pitched, can change during the baseball season based on how well they’re playing. Even really good players in the Hall of Fame had times when their WHIP went from really good to just okay. This happens because different things, like those I’ll explain below, affect how we look at a pitcher’s WHIP score.

Control and Command

How well a pitcher can throw the ball where they want it to go is super important for their WHIP. If a pitcher has trouble controlling the ball and ends up giving away lots of walks, their WHIP goes up. But if they’re good at placing the ball away from where hitters can easily hit it, their WHIP stays lower by limiting hits.

Pitching Repertoire and Strategy

The kinds of pitches a pitcher uses and how they use them can affect WHIP. If a pitcher has a bunch of different pitches and can change how fast they throw, it can make it tough for the other team to hit well.

Some pitchers are really good at making hitters hit the ball on the ground instead of in the air, which helps keep their WHIP down.


The players behind a pitcher on the field also play a part in WHIP. If the team’s defence is strong and can turn possible hits into outs, the pitcher’s WHIP goes down.

But if the defence isn’t so good and has trouble making plays, the pitcher’s WHIP goes up because more hits get through.

Pitcher’s Skill and Experience

How good a pitcher is and how long they’ve been playing also matter for WHIP. Pitchers who are really good at controlling the ball, moving it around, and changing speeds tend to have lower WHIPs.

Pitchers with more experience often know better how to face different hitters, which helps keep their WHIP lower than new or less experienced pitchers.

Ballpark Factors

The place where the games are played can affect WHIP, too. Some ballparks have bigger outfields or conditions that make it harder for hitters to get hits, so the pitcher’s WHIP is lower.

But in ballparks that are better for hitters, with shorter distances or nice weather, the WHIP might be higher because more hits happen.

So, understanding these things helps us see why a pitcher’s WHIP changes and how they’re doing during the season.

What Are the Differences Between ERA and WHIP?

Earned Run Average (ERA) and Walks plus Hits per Inning Pitched (WHIP) are two important numbers in baseball that help us understand how well a pitcher is doing.

If a player has a low ERA, it usually means they are also likely to have a low WHIP. But there’s a difference between them. ERA doesn’t count runs given up by pitchers after a fielding mistake with two outs in an inning. On the other hand, WHIP keeps counting after a mistake as long as the runners get on base. It doesn’t care how they got there.

Many people think WHIP is a better way to figure out how good a pitcher is because it looks at individual things like walks, hits, and innings pitched.

However, ERA looks at the order of events, and sometimes, things happen that are not completely the pitcher’s fault.

So, in a nutshell, WHIP gives us a closer look at how well a pitcher is doing in each game, while ERA looks at the overall sequence of events, which might not always be the pitcher’s fault.

How To Improve WHIP In Baseball: Strategies for Pitchers

One really important thing for pitchers is to try and make as few mistakes as possible. Mistakes can let more players from the other team get on base, and that can affect a pitcher’s WHIP.

To avoid mistakes, it’s crucial to practice good ways of catching and throwing the ball and talk well with teammates to coordinate on the field. This helps in reducing mistakes and stopping players from reaching bases.

Another good idea is to watch and learn from the best players in basketball. For example, look at pitchers like Addie Joss, who has the best WHIP in Major League Baseball history.

By watching how these great players do things, you can learn tricks and strategies to stop players from getting on base. Learning from the best players helps you become a better pitcher.

Lastly, pitchers need to understand that walks are not good for their WHIP, which should motivate them to improve. When a pitcher gives away too many walks, it means more players from the other team end up on the bases, and that makes it easier for them to score points.

So, it’s important to practice throwing the ball in the right place and making sure it’s a good pitch. This helps bring down the average WHIP and makes you a more effective pitcher overall.


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In conclusion, our exploration of WHIP in bBaseballhas illuminated its vital role in gauging a pitcher’s prowess.

A lower WHIP, exemplified by a scale from 1.6 to 1.0, signifies superior performance, showcased by legends like Pedro Martinez and modern stars such as Clayton Kershaw.

From factors influencing WHIP to distinguishing it from ERA, we’ve delved into the nuanced world of this metric.

WHIP emerges not just as a number but as a compass, guiding enthusiasts through the intricacies of the pitcher’s mound, unravelling the magic in every pitch and resilience against each hit.


Q: What is a good WHIP in bBaseball

A: A desirable WHIP generally sits at approximately 1.00 for Major League Baseball pitchers. Performance below this threshold is outstanding and might warrant recognition for the Cy Young Award, highlighting the pitcher’s commanding presence on the field.

Q: Is era or WHIP more important?

A: Offering an honest response to this question entails acknowledging that there is no correct answer. The WHIP and ERA statistics are most accurate when employed together, as they each shed light on different aspects of a pitcher’s performance. WHIP can often anticipate ERA and a positive correlation between the two metrics.

Q: Can a WHIP be lower than ERA?

A: The WHIP is determined by dividing the total of walks and hits by the innings pitched using Walks + Hits / Innings Pitched = WHIP. While it is crucial to recognize that preventing runs encompasses multiple variables, it is important to highlight that a low WHIP does not necessarily translate to a low ERA. Nonetheless, utilizing WHIP as a tool proves valuable for cross-referencing and verifying statistics against each other.

Q: Does hit by pitch count against WHIP?

A: A player reaching base due to a fielding or throwing error falls outside the scope of this measurement. Furthermore, instances where a pitch hits a batter are not factored into the calculation of WHIP.