FanGraphs: Introducing Fielding Dependent Pitching

From Dave Cameron at FanGraphs on August 29, 2012:

A few minutes ago, David Appelman announced the launch of several new stats here on the site, and since they hit on a topic of frequent discussion, I wanted to go into a bit more depth on our thought process behind their creation and what we see as their role in the evaluation of pitching.

Over the years, FanGraphs hasn’t been shy about promoting the concept of DIPS, which showed that most of the variance in a pitcher’s abilities can be viewed through the prism of walks, strikeouts, and home runs. We often cite a pitcher’s FIP — Fielding Independent Pitching, if you’re into proper names – when talking about his performance, and for most Major League pitchers, FIP works really well as an evaluator of their contribution to run prevention.

However, because FIP only focuses on walks, strikeouts, and home runs, it does not include all aspects of run prevention. Specifically, it takes no stance on two aspects of the game that do have a significant impact on a pitcher’s total number of runs allowed – the results of batted balls that are not home runs and the effects of sequencing of the various events. Because the spread in talent among Major League pitchers is not as large in these areas as the spread is in the components of FIP, ignoring these two areas doesn’t have a drastic result on the evaluation of most pitchers. However, there is certainly a subset of Major League pitchers who do accumulate (or fritter away) value through their performance in these two categories.

So, today, we’re introducing a set of metrics designed to help quantify the affects of run prevention that are not so easily isolated as the result of a pitcher’s actions. Because these metrics essentially serve to capture the value that FIP does not, we’re calling the sum of these metrics Fielding Dependent Pitching.

The idea for FDP was to quantify the remaining aspects of run prevention that are not measured by walks, strikeouts, and home runs.

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Originally published: August 29, 2012. Last Updated: August 29, 2012.