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Picture of the Day: Moneyball, Pitt, and FIP on the cover of SI

Sep 19, 2011, 5:17 PM EDT

Not only is Brad Pitt wearing an A’s hat on the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated to promote the “Moneyball” film, the equation for Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) is featured as well.

You can read my review of the movie by clicking here.

  1. firedude7160 - Sep 19, 2011 at 5:42 PM

    “…the equation for Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) is featured as well.”
    How is that stat useful?

    • jwbiii - Sep 19, 2011 at 6:01 PM

      It’s a better predictor of future ERA than ERA is. It’s something you might want to know if you were considering making a large offer to a free agent pitcher.

      • firedude7160 - Sep 19, 2011 at 6:05 PM

        So it is supposed to predict how well a pitcher will pitch in the future? This is a serious inquiry, as I don’t understand any of these new sabermetrics at all.

      • cktai - Sep 19, 2011 at 6:40 PM

        Yes it is a predictive statistic which basically ignores where balls in play go. It only takes in account strikeouts, base on balls and home runs.

        It was created during a time when people realised that pitchers have far less control over balls in play than previously though. So they created a statistic that removed it all together. Obviously this was taking it too far, so new statistics such as xFIP and SIERA were created which add flyball rate, and groundball rate respectively to the FIP formula.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 19, 2011 at 6:41 PM

        How is that stat useful?

        Throughout baseball history it’s been proven that pitchers have little(*) control over what happens when the bat hits the ball. Some years pitchers have similar peripherals (K rate, BB rate, HR rate) but give up a ton of hits, and some years they don’t. Starting with Voros McCracken(*), who created DIPS theory (or Defense Independent Pitching Statistic), people started tracking what they thought the pitcher could control.

        Tom Tango(3) took DIPS theory a step further and created FIP.

        * original report on Baseball Prospecus –

        For more specifics about the math I’m sure Aaron could help

      • firedude7160 - Sep 19, 2011 at 7:06 PM

        That makes sense. Thank you for explaining that

      • seanmk - Sep 20, 2011 at 9:46 AM

        FIP is not really predictive, xFIP is the better predictive stat. FIP shows just what the pitcher controls and what he has done. xFIP is basically saying if the walk rate, strikeout rate, groundball rate and fly rate continue, in the future he will have X.XX FIP.

        If you believe that pitchers can control the rate in which they give up home runs then FIP is the stat for you to use as a future ERA predictor, but if you think that there is a standard % of fly balls that will be home runs then xFIP is the stat for you.

      • mercyflush - Sep 20, 2011 at 9:58 AM

        “Starting with Voros McCracken, who created DIPS theory…”

        Voros being the older, less well-known brother of Phil.

  2. cktai - Sep 19, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    Actually predictive might not be the proper term. It is a statistic that is suppost to display the “true talent” of a pitcher by trying to filter out luck and the fielding of teammates. This in turn leads to a statistic which remains more stable over the years than ERA, so that is why it is more useful for predicting future performance than ERA.

  3. aaronmoreno - Sep 19, 2011 at 8:01 PM

    Does either Billy Beane or Brad Pitt use FIP?

  4. Chris K - Sep 20, 2011 at 12:29 AM

    I’d kind of expect this from a general interest magazine…like People or something. But shouldn’t Sports Illustrated be more on the ball than jumping on a topic that at best was new when the book came out?

    • - Sep 20, 2011 at 9:27 AM

      SI remains relevant because they bring interesting takes to re-hashed topics. I’m not sold that most baseball fans understand what the original Moneyball was about. Not every article in SI is relevant but to me, their body of work allows them the benefit of the doubt on this.

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