Pitchers with a Lower ERA than WHIP in a Season

Paul Swydan of The Hardball Times and Fangraphs tweeted the following:

Paul Swydan @Swydan

1.87 would be a great ERA for a reliever. Too bad that’s Craig Breslow’s WHIP. Why is he on the Red Sox still? Give me one reason.

I then responded:

dianagram @dianagram

@Swydan HMMM …. seasons in which a pitcher’s ERA matched or was lower than his WHIP …. #ARTICLEIDEA

So here are the pitchers who had a season of at least 20 innings pitched in which their ERA was lower than their WHIP.  All of these pitchers were relievers, though a few had spot starts in the particular season.  Bob Veale has the most innings pitched with ERA < WHIP (77 1/3).  Dennis Eckersley’s 1990 season is one for the record books . . . possibly the most dominant relief campaign of the decade.

Name ERA WHIP IP Year G GS SV SO9
Hank Aguirre 0.69 1.154 39.0 1968 25 0 3 5.77
Jonathan Broxton 0.62 0.759 29.0 2014 30 0 6 5.90
Brian Bruney 0.87 1.403 20.2 2006 19 0 0 10.89
Bobby Castillo 1.11 1.603 24.1 1979 19 0 7 9.25
Joba Chamberlain 0.38 0.750 24.0 2007 19 0 1 12.75
Nelson Chittum 1.19 1.319 30.1 1959 21 0 0 3.56
Louis Coleman 0.61 0.843 29.2 2013 27 0 0 9.71
Harry Coveleski 0.00 0.650 20.0 1907 4 0 0 2.70
Jesse Crain 0.74 1.145 36.2 2013 38 0 0 11.29
Joey Devine 0.59 0.832 45.2 2008 42 0 1 9.66
Gus Dorner 1.25 1.278 36.0 1902 4 4 0 1.25
Dennis Eckersley 0.61 0.614 73.1 1990 63 0 48 8.96
Foster Edwards 0.72 1.320 25.0 1926 3 3 0 1.44
Rich Gossage 0.77 0.771 46.2 1981 32 0 20 9.26
Earl Hamilton 0.83 1.111 54.0 1918 6 6 0 3.33
Chris Hammond 0.95 1.105 76.0 2002 63 0 0 7.46
Bill Harris 0.87 0.968 31.0 1931 4 4 0 2.90
Carmen Hill 1.15 1.170 47.0 1915 8 3 0 4.60
Kenley Jansen 0.67 1.000 27.0 2010 25 0 4 13.67
Dan Jennings 1.03 1.443 26.1 2014 28 0 0 8.54
Joel Johnston 0.40 0.806 22.1 1991 13 0 0 8.46
Jeff Keener 1.61 1.701 22.1 1982 19 0 0 10.07
Paul Kilgus 0.63 0.907 28.2 1993 22 1 1 6.59
Craig Kimbrel 0.44 1.210 20.2 2010 21 0 1 17.42
Barry Latman 0.76 0.923 47.2 1958 13 3 0 5.29
Name ERA WHIP IP Year G GS SV SO9
Nick Maddox 0.83 0.833 54.0 1907 6 6 0 6.33
Cliff Markle 0.39 0.913 23.0 1915 3 2 0 4.70
Walt Masterson 1.08 1.240 25.0 1945 4 2 0 5.04
George McQuillan 0.66 0.780 41.0 1907 6 5 0 6.15
Earl Moore 0.00 1.077 26.0 1908 3 3 0 5.54
Rob Murphy 0.72 0.934 50.1 1986 34 0 1 6.44
Buck O’Brien 0.38 1.070 47.2 1911 6 5 0 5.85
Eric O’Flaherty 0.98 1.086 73.2 2011 78 0 0 8.19
Harry Otis 1.37 1.671 26.1 1909 5 3 0 2.05
Jim Park 1.19 1.191 22.2 1915 3 3 0 1.99
Dennys Reyes 0.89 0.987 50.2 2006 66 0 0 8.70
David Robertson 1.08 1.125 66.2 2011 70 0 1 13.50
Fernando Rodney 0.60 0.777 74.2 2012 76 0 48 9.16
Ray Searage 0.70 0.939 38.1 1984 21 0 6 6.81
Kevin Siegrist 0.45 0.882 39.2 2013 45 0 0 11.34
Matt Smith 0.87 0.919 20.2 2006 26 0 0 9.15
Bob Spade 1.00 1.111 27.0 1907 3 3 0 2.33
Al Tedrow 1.21 1.478 22.1 1914 4 3 0 1.61
John Tsitouris 0.84 0.938 21.1 1962 4 2 0 2.95
Bob Veale 1.04 1.275 77.2 1963 34 7 3 7.88
Tony Watson 0.84 0.938 42.2 2014 43 0 0 10.34
Chris Young 0.90 1.050 20.0 2010 4 4 0 6.75
Brad Ziegler 1.06 1.156 59.2 2008 47 0 11 4.53
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail
twitterrss

One thought on “Pitchers with a Lower ERA than WHIP in a Season

  1. Using data from 2013, I ran a regression of ERA (dependent variable) on WHIP (Independent variable). The result is:

    ERA = -2.5 + 5*WHIP

    (R-squared = 0.65). So we would expect, on average, that a pitcher with a WHIP of 1.4, for example, would have an ERA of about 4.5. Which seems reasonable, I think.

    So there shouldn’t be very many pitchers with an ERA < WHIP, but every year, there will be some. In 2014, there were 3–Jesse Crain and Kevin Siegrist (both faced 152 batters) and Louis Coleman (who faced 110).

    (I used a cutoff of 100 batters faced.)

Leave a Reply