Baseball 360 Newsletter

Subscribe Now

Get a 10% discount just by joining our mailing list

My Cart


What is WHIP in Baseball?

What is WHIP in Baseball?

Baseball, often dubbed as America's favorite pastime, is a sport steeped in rich history and intricate statistics. Behind every pitch, swing, and catch lies a wealth of data that can be analyzed to gain a deeper understanding of a player's performance. One such statistic is Walks plus Hits per Inning Pitched (WHIP). While many seasoned baseball fans are familiar with this term, newcomers to the game may find themselves wondering, "What is WHIP in baseball?". In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the world of baseball statistics and shed light on the meaning and significance of WHIP.

What is WHIP?

WHIP, an acronym for "Walks plus Hits per Inning Pitched," is a widely used statistic in baseball terminology used to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of a pitcher. It provides valuable insights into a pitcher's ability to prevent opposing batters from reaching base by either walking them or allowing hits.

In simple terms, WHIP represents the average number of walks and hits a pitcher allows per inning pitched. It is calculated by adding the total number of walks (BB) and hits (H) surrendered by a pitcher and dividing it by the total number of innings pitched (IP). 

The formula for WHIP can be represented as:

WHIP = (BB + H) / IP

WHIP is often expressed as a decimal, typically rounded to three decimal places. For example, a pitcher with a WHIP of 1.250 indicates that they allow an average of 1.25 baserunners per inning pitched.

Why is WHIP Important? 

WHIP is important in baseball because it quantifies a pitcher's ability to prevent baserunners, encompassing both walks and hits allowed per inning pitched. A lower WHIP signifies greater effectiveness, as it indicates the pitcher's control, command, and capacity to limit scoring opportunities for the opposing team, making it a crucial statistic for evaluating and comparing pitchers' performance.

What is a really good WHIP in baseball?

In general, a good WHIP for a pitcher is around 1.00 or lower. This means that on average, the pitcher allows one base runner or less per inning. The lower the WHIP, the better the pitcher is at keeping opposing batters off the bases and minimizing scoring opportunities for the opposing team. Pitchers with exceptional control and command are often able to achieve low WHIPs consistently.

When looking at historical statistics in baseball, there have been pitchers who have achieved incredibly low WHIP numbers throughout their careers. For example, Pedro Martinez, one of the greatest pitchers of all time, finished his career with a career WHIP of 1.05. Another notable pitcher with an outstanding WHIP is Clayton Kershaw, who currently has a career WHIP of 1.029 as of 2023. These pitchers demonstrate what it takes to achieve an elite level of performance when it comes to preventing base runners and maintaining control on the mound.

What Doesn't WHIP Measure?

It should be noted that WHIP does not tell the entire story when evaluating a pitcher's success. This is because WHIP only takes into account walks and hits allowed, not any other type of baserunners. A player who reaches base due to a fielding error or throwing error will not be counted and is therefore beyond the scope of this measurement. Additionally, if a batter is hit by a pitch, that does not count towards WHIP either.

In addition to these basic stats being excluded from WHIP, there are also more complex ones such as fielder's choice, which can help to further determine how well or poorly a pitcher performed overall. Furthermore, WHIP does not take into account how many bases were given up by a particular pitcher so it might be hard to get an accurate assessment without looking at all associated stats with the performance in question. As with most sporting statistics, using one single aspect alone cannot give an accurate overall rating of the performance but rather needs to take into account multiple factors such as runs allowed and strikeouts to provide more concrete results.

9 strength training exercises for baseball

Who has the lowest WHIP in MLB history?

Throughout the rich history of baseball, there have been many talented pitchers who have graced the mound with their skills and left an indelible mark on the game. However, when it comes to WHIP stats, one name stands above them all: Addie Joss. With a career WHIP of 0.97, Joss not only achieved greatness on the field but also etched his name in baseball lore. 

Joss played for the Cleveland Naps (now known as the Cleveland Guardians) from 1902 to 1910 before his tragically early death at the age of 31 due to meningitis. Despite his short career, Joss made an everlasting impact and secured his place among baseball's elite with his extraordinary talent and remarkable control on the mound. His ability to limit walks and hits allowed him to consistently keep opponents off base, earning him a reputation as one of the most dominant pitchers in history.

Following on from Joss, we currently have Jacob DeGrom with a career WHIP of 0.9931, Ed Walsh with a career WHIP of 0.9996, Mariano Rivera with a career WHIP of 1.0003, and Clayton Kershaw with a career WHIP of 1.0029. The average WHIP for Major League Baseball is 1.30, but baseball players with a WHIP below 1.10 are extremely talented and sought after. A bad WHIP is anything over 1.50.

Factors That Affect WHIP

The average pitcher will see his WHIP regularly change throughout the baseball season depending on how well he is playing. Even Hall of Famers went through rough periods for their WHIP stats, fluctuating between an excellent WHIP and a more average score. This is because there are a variety of factors, such as the one listed below, that affect your WHIP score. 

Control and Command

A pitcher's ability to throw strikes consistently and locate their pitches with precision greatly affects their WHIP statistic. Poor control, resulting in a high number of walks, can significantly increase a pitcher's WHIP as it allows more baserunners. On the other hand, strong command, hitting the corners and avoiding the heart of the strike zone, can help keep the WHIP lower by limiting hits.

Pitching Repertoire and Strategy

The type of pitches a pitcher throws and their strategy in using them can impact WHIP. Pitchers with a diverse arsenal and the ability to mix speeds effectively can keep hitters off balance, reducing the likelihood of solid contact and hits. Additionally, pitchers who induce ground balls rather than fly balls can limit extra-base hits and, consequently, maintain a lower WHIP.


The quality of a pitcher's supporting defense can influence their WHIP. A strong defense behind a pitcher can turn potential hits into outs, thereby lowering the WHIP. Conversely, a weaker defense that struggles to make plays can inflate a pitcher's WHIP as more hits find their way to the outfield.

Pitcher's Skill and Experience

The skill level and experience of a pitcher play a role in WHIP. Pitchers with better command, movement, and the ability to change speeds effectively tend to have lower WHIPs. Experienced pitchers often possess better control and an understanding of how to navigate lineups, leading to lower WHIPs compared to rookies or less experienced pitchers.

Ballpark Factors

The characteristics of the ballpark where the pitcher plays can impact WHIP. Ballparks with larger outfields or better pitcher-friendly conditions (e.g., heavy air, higher walls) tend to suppress hits, resulting in lower WHIPs. Conversely, hitter-friendly ballparks with shorter dimensions or favorable weather conditions may lead to higher WHIPs due to more hits being allowed.

Shop for baseball equipment 

Improving WHIP: Strategies for Pitchers

One key aspect to focus on is minimizing errors. Errors can lead to additional baserunners and ultimately impact a pitcher's WHIP. By practicing good fielding techniques and communication with teammates, pitchers can reduce errors and keep runners off the bases.

Another strategy is studying the greats of the game. Take a look at pitchers like Addie Joss, who holds the lowest career WHIP in Major League Baseball history. Analyzing their techniques and approaches can provide valuable insights into how to limit baserunners and improve your own WHIP. Learning from those who've excelled in the sport can be a powerful tool in becoming a better pitcher.

Lastly, it's important for pitchers to understand that walks are detrimental when it comes to WHIP and it will serve as motivation. A high number of walks means more runners on the base paths, which increases the likelihood of runs being scored against you. Focus on improving your control and accuracy when throwing pitches, aiming for strikes rather than balls. This will not only help decrease your average league WHIP but also make you a more effective pitcher overall.

Buy Baseball Equipment to Improve Your WHIP

If you want to improve your WHIP, you need to be serious about the game, which begins with investing in quality baseball equipment. At Baseball 360, we have everything you could possibly need to ensure you stay on top of your game. From baseball helmets to uniforms, from mitts to bats, we sell only the highest quality equipment at a reasonable price. 

Browse our baseball equipment