There are some wild sabermetric acronyms that I wouldn’t assume every baseball analyst knows. But WHIP? Walks and hits per inning pitched? That’s one of the most basic and commonly-used stats for evaluating a pitcher.
During the eighth inning, play-by-play voice Dan McLaughlin introduced Cardinals reliever Ryan Helsley to the game, informing the audience that he has a 0.36 ERA.
Jim Edmonds can't grasp the meaning of WHIP pic.twitter.com/9huyYEMChd
— Brandon Contes (@BrandonContes) June 23, 2022
“That means his WHIP is pretty low too, isn’t it?” asked Edmonds. “He’s whippin’ it pretty low. Never could understand that.”
“Walks, hits in innings pitched,” McLaughlin said, attempting to explain WHIP to the former All-Star centerfielder.
To some extent, I can respect older generations of players and analysts who resist newer stats in favor or trusting their eyes and ears. But you can’t understand the value in a stat that measures how well a pitcher is able to keep runners off the basepaths? If that’s the case, then there’s really no stat worth keeping for a pitcher. Add the walks and hits, divide by total innings pitched, and boom, WHIP, simple enough.
“Basically, your on-base percentage for a pitcher?” Edmonds asked.
“It’s a little bit more than that, but yeah,” McLaughlin answered. “Jimmy, on the bus, we’re gonna go over WHIP and I’ll have it all down for you.”
“I mean I get it,” Edmonds said, seconds after stating he never could understand it. “I’m just saying, I think it’s, ya know. I just think sometimes that stat is just kinda thrown out there like, ‘here, look at this.’”
I feel like Edmonds trying to understand WHIP as I attempt to figure out what he just said. So, Edmonds can’t understand WHIP, although he gets it, but he’s dismissing it? We’re not expecting Edmonds to get a grasp on LIPS, VORP or WHIFF, but asking a paid baseball analyst to understand the value in measuring how many walks and hits a pitcher gives up per inning shouldn’t be too much.