Astros WHIP+ Shows an Above Average Rotation

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The Astros’ WHIP+ shows an above average rotation, lacking well-known names in regard to Major League Baseball.

There’s been some debate around the value of the WHIP metric in baseball, with one argument being that pitchers have less control of the number of hits they give up and therefore the value of the statistic is dubious.

I get the point – line drives are caught all the time and soft contact bloopers fall in for hits. My counter argument would be that nine of the top 12 pitchers all time in WHIP are in the Hall of Fame and the other three are still active – Clayton Kershaw (fourth all-time), Jacob deGrom (fifth) and Chris Sale (sixth). Seems like a list a pitcher would like to be on.

WHIP is a number I pay attention to for the exact reason it was invented: It’s a gauge of how many baserunners a pitcher allows. There are pitchers that give up relatively few hits, but always seem to be in trouble because of walks.

There are pitchers that walk more than average, but give up less hits.  The best pitchers are generally those that give up relatively few of both, which manifest in a low WHIP.

There’s a rarely cited statistic that goes by the name of WHIP+ and as you might imagine, like all the other + statistics, gauges a pitcher’s WHIP vs the rest of MLB.

I decided to look into the WHIP+ of the Houston Astros pitchers and found some interesting numbers (at least to me). As a reminder, lower is better in this number, one hundred is average and if a pitcher has a WHIP+ of 90, that means his WHIP is 10% lower than average.

In this article, we’ll focus on starters and part two will discuss relievers.