Master the Whip: Demystifying the Baseball Term in 5 Simple Steps

Looking for a definition of ‘whip’ in baseball? This handy term refers to the throwing arm of a pitcher, known for its speed and accuracy. In the game of baseball, having a strong whip can be the secret weapon for a winning team. Learn more about this essential term in our comprehensive guide.


7.5 Key Aspects of Whip Baseball Term

Baseball is one of the most popular sports in the United States, with a rich history and a dedicated fan base. Along with the sport comes a unique lingo and terminology that may be unfamiliar to those who are not well-versed in the game. One term that often stands out is “whip” or “whip baseball.” In this blog post, we will delve into the meaning and origins of this term and its relevance in the world of baseball.

The Definition of Whip in Baseball

In the context of baseball, “whip” stands for “walks + hits per inning pitched.” It is used to measure the effectiveness of a pitcher by calculating the average number of hits and walks they allow per inning. This metric is a key statistic in determining a pitcher’s performance and contribution to the team.

The Origins of the Term

The term “whip” has been a part of baseball lingo since the early 2000s, but its exact origins are unclear. Some sources attribute it to a slang term used by players in the minor leagues, while others believe it may have come from the word “whipper,” used to describe a hard-throwing pitcher. Regardless of its origins, the term has gained popularity and is now a widely recognized statistic in the world of baseball.

How is Whip Calculated?

As mentioned earlier, whip stands for walks and hits per inning pitched. To calculate this metric, the number of hits allowed by a pitcher is added to the number of walks they issued, and the result is divided by the number of innings they have pitched. For example, if a pitcher allows 50 hits and walks in 100 innings, their whip would be 0.5.

Why is Whip Important?

In baseball, pitchers play a crucial role in the outcome of a game. Their job is to prevent the opposing team from scoring runs by pitching effectively. Whip is a key metric used to evaluate a pitcher’s performance and determine their value to the team. A low whip indicates that a pitcher is successful in limiting the number of hits and walks they allow, making them a valuable asset to their team.

How Does Whip Compare to Other Pitching Statistics?

Whip is often used in combination with other pitching stats, such as earned run average (ERA) and strikeouts per nine innings (K/9). While ERA measures the number of earned runs allowed by a pitcher in nine innings, whip takes into account all hits and walks, regardless of whether they result in runs. K/9, on the other hand, measures the average number of strikeouts in nine innings. These stats combined give a comprehensive picture of a pitcher’s performance and effectiveness on the mound.

How Does Whip Factor into Baseball Records?

Due to its importance in measuring a pitcher’s performance, whip has become a part of baseball records and achievements. Some of the all-time leaders in whip include pitchers such as Pedro Martinez, Mariano Rivera, and Greg Maddux. Additionally, whip is used in the calculation of the Cy Young Award, given to the best pitcher in each league at the end of every season.

How Can a Pitcher Improve Their Whip?

For pitchers, having a low whip is a mark of success and efficiency. To improve their whip, they must focus on limiting the number of walks and hits they allow. This can be achieved by having better control over their pitches, changing their pitch selection, and studying the opposing team’s hitters to determine their weaknesses.

Looking for a definition of ‘whip’ in baseball? This handy term refers to the throwing arm of a pitcher, known for its speed and accuracy. In the game of baseball, having a strong whip can be the secret weapon for a winning team. Learn more about this essential term in our comprehensive guide.. Whip 


Whip Baseball Term: Explained and Analyzed

The Basics of Whip in Baseball

The term “whip” is commonly used in baseball to refer to a statistic known as walks plus hits per inning pitched. This statistic, also known as WHIP, represents the average number of walks and hits allowed by a pitcher per inning. It is widely considered to be a key indicator of a pitcher’s overall effectiveness and is often used to compare pitchers across different eras and leagues.

The Formula for Calculating Whip

The formula for calculating whip is fairly straightforward: simply add together the number of walks and hits allowed by a pitcher and divide that number by the total number of innings pitched. For example, if a pitcher allows 50 hits and 20 walks in 100 innings pitched, their whip would be 70/100, or 0.700. This number is usually expressed as a three-decimal statistic, such as 1.038.

Why Whip is Important

Whip is important because it gives a more complete picture of a pitcher’s performance than other statistics such as earned run average (ERA). While ERA only takes into account earned runs, whip takes into account all baserunners that a pitcher allows. This means that a pitcher with a low whip is not only preventing runs from scoring, but is also limiting the number of baserunners that their opponents are able to reach.

Whip vs. ERA: Which is More Important?

While both whip and ERA are important statistics in evaluating a pitcher’s performance, whip is generally considered to be a more accurate representation of their effectiveness. This is because ERA is heavily influenced by factors such as errors and unearned runs, which are largely out of the pitcher’s control. Whip, on the other hand, focuses solely on the pitcher’s ability to prevent walks and hits.

Factors that Affect Whip

Whip can be affected by a number of factors, including a pitcher’s control, velocity, and pitch selection. A pitcher with good control will typically have a lower whip because they are less likely to allow walks. Similarly, a pitcher with a high velocity can often overpower batters, resulting in fewer hits allowed. Pitch selection also plays a role in whip, as certain pitches are more prone to resulting in walks or hits than others.

Whip Leaders in Baseball

According to data from Major League Baseball, the best pitchers in terms of whip from the 2021 season are Gerrit Cole of the New York Yankees and Max Scherzer of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Both pitchers had a whip of 0.889, with Cole allowing just 13 walks and 112 hits in 185.2 innings pitched, and Scherzer allowing 35 walks and 138 hits in 201.1 innings pitched. With their low whip scores, these pitchers have been integral components of their teams’ pitching rotations.

How Whip is Used in Baseball Analytics

In recent years, whip has gained significant traction as a key statistic in baseball analytics. Whip is an important component of many advanced metrics used to evaluate pitchers, such as Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) and Expected Weighted On-Base Average (xwOBA). These analytics serve to provide a more accurate representation of a pitcher’s performance, taking into account factors such as park and league factors, which can have a significant impact on traditional statistics such as ERA.

The Evolution of Whip in Baseball

Whip has been used in baseball since at least the early 20th century, with some evidence of its usage dating back to the late 1800s. However, the statistic did not gain widespread popularity until the 1980s, when it became a more common component of box scores and was included in player statistics on baseball cards. Since then, whip has become an important component of baseball analytics and has been used to evaluate both pitchers and hitters.

The Impact of Whip on Pitcher Contracts

Whip has also had a significant impact on the salaries of pitchers in Major League Baseball. In recent years, pitchers with lower whip scores have been able to command higher salaries due to their perceived value in preventing runs and limiting baserunners. This is evident in the recent contracts signed by top pitchers such as Gerrit Cole, who signed a record-breaking nine-year, $324 million contract with the New York Yankees in 2019.

How to Improve Your Whip as a Pitcher

Pitchers looking to improve their whip should focus on developing their control, increasing their velocity, and utilizing an effective pitch selection. By maintaining control and limiting the number of walks allowed, pitchers can lower their whip and become more effective on the mound. Increasing velocity can also help to overpower batters, resulting in fewer hits and a lower whip. Pitch selection is also important, as pitchers should aim to throw pitches with a high success rate of getting strikes and outs.

Frequently Asked Questions On Master the Whip

1.What does it mean to “whip” a baseball?

In baseball, “whipping” a baseball refers to throwing it with great speed and velocity, often resulting in a breaking ball or curveball.

2.How can a pitcher improve their whip?

Pitchers can improve their whip by focusing on their mechanics, increasing their arm strength, and perfecting their pitch grips for maximum control and movement.

3.Why is whip a useful statistic in baseball?

Whip, which stands for “Walks and Hits per Innings Pitched,” is a useful statistic in baseball because it measures a pitcher’s ability to prevent baserunners and limit runs scored by the opposing team.

4.Does whip take into account earned runs?

Yes, whip takes into account both earned and unearned runs when calculating a pitcher’s effectiveness and overall performance on the field.

5.What is considered a good whip for a pitcher?

A good whip for a pitcher is typically below 1.00, with the best pitchers having whips in the 0.80 range or lower.

6.Is whip a reliable measurement of a pitcher’s skill?

While whip is a commonly used statistic in baseball, it is not the only factor that determines a pitcher’s skill. Other statistics such as ERA and strikeout rates should also be considered in evaluating a pitcher’s performance.

7.How does weather affect whip?

In general, cold and wet weather conditions can affect a pitcher’s grip and control, resulting in a higher whip. On the other hand, warm and dry weather can lead to better pitches and a lower whip.

8.Can a pitcher have a negative whip?

Yes, a pitcher can have a negative whip if they have more strikeouts than hits and walks combined, meaning they are allowing fewer baserunners than innings pitched.

9.When was whip first used as a statistic in baseball?

The whip statistic was first introduced and popularized in the 1970s and has since become a widely used measure of a pitcher’s effectiveness.

10.Are there any limitations to using whip as a measure of a pitcher’s performance?

While whip can provide valuable insights into a pitcher’s performance, it does not take into account factors such as a team’s defense and luck. It should be used in conjunction with other statistics for a more well-rounded evaluation. Master the Whip: Demystifying the Baseball Term in 5 Simple Steps


Whip is a key statistic in baseball and serves as an important tool for evaluating a pitcher’s performance. It takes into account all walks and hits allowed, giving a more accurate representation of a pitcher’s effectiveness than other statistics such as ERA. With the rise of advanced analytics in baseball, whip has become an integral component of evaluating both pitchers and hitters. As the game of baseball continues to evolve, whip will likely remain a crucial factor in determining the success of a pitcher on the mound. 

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