﻿ Introducing The xWHIP Calculator | The Hardball Times

# Introducing The xWHIP Calculator

If you have the old version of the xWHIP calculator (anything before v.1.4.3), please download the new one (available through the link below), as it will give you the most accurate projection.

Enjoy!

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I am forever locked in Mortal Kombat for the souls of sports fans everywhere. Statistics are my science and ‘the immeasurable character of men’ is the obsolete religion of blind faith. My job is to prove that God doesn’t exist and that athletes are merely cold, metal machines with no hearts or souls.

Earlier this week, I projected Cliff Lee’s prospective rest of season WHIP. The formulaic process of calculating his xWHIP got me thinking and I spent the (entire) morning creating an xWHIP calculator (visually based on the THT xBABIP Quick Calculator). If you would like a copy of the program, you can download the xWHIP calculator by clicking here. The password to utilize the excel sheet is soto18.

### Explanation of the xWHIP Calculator

According to Gameday data, circa 2005-2010, BABIP by batted ball type is general broken down as follows:

• Popups: .008
• Groundballs: 0.237
• Outfield Flyballs: 0.269
• Line Drives: 0.733

This data includes home runs, which is why the Outfield Flyball xBABIP is so high. If you take home runs out of the equation, the xBABIP for Outfield Flyballs and Line Drives fall to .174 and .727, respectively.

I’ve taken the above numbers and paired them with a formula that normalizes a pitcher’s line drive percentage to 19% and spits out remaining balls in play (BIP) data. The calculator also features a defensive adjustment so that you can account for a pitcher’s team defense. The defensive adjustment operates under the assumption that all “saved hits” were of the singles variety.

Below is a picture of the xWHIP calculator. The numbers plugged into the model for the picture are those of Tom Gorzelanny through July 17, 2010.

The grey cells are for data you should input. The green cells feature the xBIP data per IP. The blue and orange cells feature xWHIP and xHit calculations. The data cells are pre-formatted to visually round all numbers to keep the sheet clean, though cells will retain the full value of any number entered.

I hope everyone enjoys this. If you have any questions/concerns/comments/criticisms, please email them to
, with the subject line xWHIP Calculator.

On a final note, I would like to give a special thank you to Derek Carty, who (possibly unknowingly) helped me create this xWHIP calculator.

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Jeffrey Gross is an attorney who periodically moonlights as a (fantasy) baseball analyst. He also responsibly enjoys tasty adult beverages. You can read about those adventures at his blog and/or follow him on Twitter @saBEERmetrics.
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Billy

This is totally awesome. Thanks for the tool.

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Derek Carty

I wanted to note for those curious that this is essentially DIPS WHIP that I’ve used in past articles, but with defense and park effects added.  Very similar.  Good work, Jeff

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Jeffrey Gross

Thanks Derek. I’m just standing on the shoulders of giants.

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Kyle

your blurb before you get into the stats says it all. your paradigm holds you back, anyway, thanks for another load of useless information.

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Derek Carty

Sorry, Kyle, what’s useless about it?  Instead of relying on actual WHIP, which is shaped by and can be misleading due to a high or low BABIP, this normalizes BABIP based on batted ball distribution (which is very stable) and allows us to more accurately say what a pitcher’s WHIP should be.

If you have qualms with it, though, I’d definitely like to hear specifically what you dislike about it.

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Jeffrey Gross

@kyle, you’re welcome

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Andrew

It’s possible that Kyle may have taken the blurb out of context and found it offensive. Just my two cents.

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Ross

This is great work and the initial paragraph that starts the post is brilliant. I would imagine Kyle also spurns FIP, xFIP and RoS projections.

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Jeffrey Gross

@Ross,

Thanks. It’s my byline from my other blog “Game Of Inches” >> I’ve been thinking about incorporating it into more posts

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Andrew

Excellent discussion.

For what it’s worth, I’d wager that most THT Fantasy readers use these tools to increase their chances at winning fantasy leagues – nothing more, nothing less.

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Pau
Kyle: Even if gravity is entwined with our perception, does it make it any less accurate?  As you say, we can’t escape our contextualized perception of reality.  If so, gravity is still useful to us, and still a part of the world around us, even if that world is impossible to observe independently of our perception.  I might try another tact here… When drafting a fantasy team, do you pick names out of a hat?  I’d assume you don’t.  Picking names out of a hat will almost certainly end with a poor result.  Even if another approach has no more… Read more »
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Kyle
Didn’t find it offensive, just revealing. I’m sure for the diehard saber community this stat will provide something else with which to analyze baseball and to that end, and for that community, it’s a fine statistic. In the recent past I have considered myself a member of this community, but over this past baseball season I find myself moving away from these kinds of statistics precisely for the reason that Derek brought up: that they are trying to tell us what ‘should’ have happened, or what someone’s performance should have looked like once all of the pesky factors are subtracted.… Read more »
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Jeffrey Gross

@erik:

Goto the “tools” menu atop the prgm then to “Protection”

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Jeffrey Gross
@Kyle, the point of these stats is not to alter the past, but to “predict” the future to the best of one’s ability. If you can narrow a production down to “true performance” you can find a baseline for repetition and then adjust based on certain factors. that is the goal of this and other stats like xFIP. You may not be able to strip out the completely neutral stat, but you can do it to the best of one’s ability. Just because it cannot be done perfectly does not mean it should not be done at all. We’re just… Read more »
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Derek Carty
Kyle, If you are looking at things from a pure fan’s perspective, then I could absolutely see not caring too much about these types of stats.  This is the fantasy section, though, and in the context of fantasy baseball, this kind of analysis is quite important.  If we’re concerned with what’s *going to* happen as opposed to what *already has* happened, that’s when these kinds of stats shine. There’s no question that players are human beings, each with their own unique physiologies and psychologies and aging patterns and everything else that you can think of.  That being said, though, if… Read more »
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Kyle

Question, just to see where we are at as far as a minimum conception goes: Would the universe exist in exactly the same way (have the same natural laws, roughly speaking) if conscious beings who use space and time did not exist? or in another way, if if consciousness is taken out of the equation, would the world continue to exist?

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Kyle
I totally get what you are saying, both of you, but let me just respond to a couple of your points independently. Jeff: What I have lost, in the sense of what I had when I was fully immersed in these statistics, is a desire to predict the future to the best of my ability. I no longer see the merit. Now if its your job then obviously there is impetus, so it makes sense that you attack it this way. But, again, not to harp on a point, but when you say you are trying to find the best… Read more »
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Derek Carty
I can understand being skeptical, Kyle, although studies have shown that we are much better off with our current methods than we would be by simply winging it.  Sure, we won’t be able to explain certain things or will be wrong about others because we are dealing with human beings, but that’s going to be the case no matter what methods we use.  And using what we do know, these methods get us closer to the answer, which has been proven quantitatively. As a fan, if you’re fine to just enjoy the ride, by all means.  But as fantasy players… Read more »
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Pau
Kyle: Just as particle physics or gravity or computers (or whatever) may or may not get us closer to an objective truth, they allow us to more accurately model what we observe and perceive.  You might not find the calculator used here to be an especially important advancement, if an advancement at all (I just skimmed and didn’t notice any test of validity… though it seems that it should spit out a number with better predictive validity than past WHIP depending on sample size).  Yet why is gravitational theory so important?  Rhetorical, I know, but it’s important because it is… Read more »
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Jeffrey Gross

I had to make a minor tinker to the tool. I just made an update to the file, but I may need to do some additional tinkering as its been brought to my attention that the xWHIP formula may double account for park factors

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Jeffrey Gross
@Pau, I omitted validity testing simply because I’m using Tango’s already validated numbers. I’m going to run a handful of xWHIP tests over the course of the season. I’ve already punched in Gorzelanny and Hudson, though I noticed that those two numbers use the wrong PF data (100% versus 50%). If anyone out there wants to do the validation work when I get version 2.0 of this model complete, I would greatly appreciate it and perhaps I could convince the guys over here to let that validation work to be posted on the site. Alas, for the time being, I… Read more »
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Randy

Kyle, “we” are not trying to predict anything. You are merely someone who has commented on a post, just like me.

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Jeffrey Gross
As noted above, It has been brought to my attention that the inclusion of Park Factor data “double accounts” for park effects because the original BIP data already accounts for the park effects. Hence, I am removing Park Factors from my tool until I create a 2.0 version of the xWHIP Calculator which will allow translation of a player’s BIP data for one team into another (useful for trade analysis). I have updated the excel sheet accordingly. Enjoy! The file linked to in the above post has been updated accordingly. If anyone else notices a problem like this, please notify… Read more »
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Derek Ambrosino
Not to add another meta type question here, but I must admit (and, it’s an important admission as a fellow THT fantasy writer) that I do have my occassional bouts with advanced stats. My question is more pragmatic though; it deals with the seemingly waning cost-benefit of keeping fully up to date with all the new statistics that pop up everytime somebody invents one. The question is, when are we close enough? I assume that as long as the cost of entry into being a sabermetrician is fairly low, the pace at which new stats emerge will not slow. And,… Read more »
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Jason
Great Post and even better discussion in the comments! As a fantasy enthusiast myself i find this type of data and advanced stats for that matter…EXTREMELY important in making even the simplest add/drop. I would have to agree that these type of advanced stats most certainly give the fantasy player a more in depth model to base decisions on. Isnt fantasy baseball just a numbers game in itself?  wouldnt it behoove the fantasy competitor to constantly be updating and innovating new ways to interpret and predict statistical data? i certainly understand the difference of fantasy baseball to ACTUAL baseball.  perhaps… Read more »
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Kyle

@Pau

As to your point about gravitational theory, I disagree, I don’t think gravity is out there independent of conscious minds stuck in time. We are never able to step out of our contextualized perception…ever, and so every single thing we observe or perceive, no matter the model, is always still part of our perceptual apparatus that we can never fully understand…but hey, were getting rather philosophical, if you care to argue this over some emails let me know

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Erik

For those using Open Office (on a Mac), how do I put in the password to input numbers into the spreadsheet?

Thanks.

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Train (OR)
@Kyle – I think you pose an unanswerable question, but one that can open doors and minds to new ideas. My answer would be, and a few have touched on this, does it matter? If xWHIP more accurately predicts future performance does it matter if it does so in an existence that is wholly our perception? Or should I say does it matter in your fantasy baseball league? If we play in a fantasy gravity league and I take what goes up must come down and you don’t because you believe gravity only exists in our compartmentalized perception, I take… Read more »
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MarkF

Has anyone done an analysis of the prediction tools?  Which tool (Marcel, Bill James, ZiPS, CHONE, Team Fans, Other Fans, etc.) does a better job at predicting season outcomes?

I would think that historical data supporting one system as a year after year better predictor of stats would create the best bragging rights.

We can all nod our heads and like the logic around the math, but whose math logic predicts the Padres to have a 4-game lead after 91 games?

Mark

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Jeffrey Gross
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Jeffrey Gross
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TBO

Mathematicians protect and rescue people from suffering by creating meaningful models of unfamiliar, real-world situations. We use these models to uncover truth, make predictions, and make decisions that optimize scarce resources.

And anyone trying to add physics references into their post probably should not. Unless you have a PhD in physics, you probably know nothing about anything

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Pau

Eh… the PhD in physics only knows they know nothing about physics.

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Mitch Brannon
I think what Kyle really means is that when your star fantasy player Carl Crawford gets hit in the nuts by a pickoff play against the freaking Orioles, y’all can take your predictive stats and shove them I am getting more like Kyle in my old age. It only takes a few major traumatic life events to question the wisdom of attempting to predict the future to any degree whatsoever. You can do everything right, but if you’re the one who got hit in the proverbial nuts, then you got hit in the proverbial nuts, no matter how low the… Read more »
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Kyle
@Train I’m guessing it wasn’t clear from my posts, which is my fault, but it should be noted that I consult an unhealthy amount of these advanced stats before making any moves with my squadron. My problem comes from the ever-increasing cadre of junior/amateur saber writers (not anyone on THT) who speak with a tone of authority not fully supported by their evidence (think freshman philosophy class). Many of them seem bent on discounting almost any player’s success as luck. My sweeping comment about xwhips uselessness, which I shall formally retract as of now, comes more from my philosophical struggles… Read more »
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Pernell