Fielding Independent Pitching
The three “true outcomes” for a pitcher are home runs, strikeouts, and walks. Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) is a formula converting those three outcomes into a score, telling how effectively the pitcher prevents runs without the help of their defense.
Sometimes ERA can be skewed by a slower, less effective defense that can’t get to certain balls or sometimes just rotten luck can spike the ERA. FIP is a truer score of how pitchers prevent scoring. A FIP score looks like an ERA number. A 4.20 FIP is considered average.
Right now, one could say Max Scherzer is the best pitcher in the game today. According to FIP, two pitchers have a better score than Scherzer: Corey Kluber and Chris Sale. That means Sale and Kluber have been a tad better at preventing runs without the help of their defense than Scherzer. Sale has a FIP of 2.10 with an ERA of 2.75 while Scherzer’s ERA leads the MLB at 2.10 but he has a 2.62 FIP. ERA and FIP might even out over several seasons so it may be a better stat in comparing individual seasons than career numbers.
Mariners starter Sam Gaviglio has the highest difference between his ERA (4.31) and his FIP (5.90) among starters this year.