From SABR member Owen Watson at Fox Sports on November 16, 2015:
Luck. We know it’s a fairly large part of baseball. It’s also the foundation for the central questions we ask when trying to analyze the game: What was a certain player or team’s actual performance? How much control did they have over their production? Can they recreate it next year? We never stop debating these points. We create new statistics to try to answer them a little better than we did last season. And, despite there being certain influences we can’t measure when looking at individual and team production, we do have a few tools at our disposal to tell us who might have underperformed, and who might have overperformed.
One of those tools is Fielding Independent Pitching, which strips away some of the influences a pitcher can’t control — namely what happens when a ball is put into play and the timing of events that unfold against them. With FIP, we can see who might have gotten unlucky with batted balls finding holes in the defense more often than expected, and conversely, who might’ve benefited from batted balls being hit straight at defenders. After a lot of groundbreaking research, it was found that pitchers don’t have a lot of control over what happens once the ball leaves their hand. Comparing FIP to actual performance — namely ERA — we can see the teams and players who might’ve gotten lucky and unlucky over the course of this past season.
Originally published: November 16, 2015. Last Updated: November 16, 2015.