You Can’t Spell “FIP” Without “Pi”

Long-time readers of the VORG know of our affinity for “pi.” We offer up the “Pi Young Award” annually to the pitcher in each league whose ERA comes closest to 3.1415. Now, in honor of the ultimate “Pi Day,” we extend our fondness of pi to FIP.

For those of you not up on the latest sabermetric measures, FIP stands for Fielding Independent Pitching.

As stated on the FanGraphs site:

Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) measures what a player’s ERA would look like over a given period of time if the pitcher were to have experienced league average results on balls in play and league average timing . . .

FIP is a measurement of a pitcher’s performance that strips out the role of defense, luck, and sequencing, making it a more stable indicator of how a pitcher actually performed over a given period of time than a runs allowed based statistic that would be highly dependent on the quality of defense played behind him . . .

Here is the formula for FIP:

FIP = ((13*HR)+(3*(BB+HBP))-(2*K))/IP + constant

The constant is solely to bring FIP onto an ERA scale and is generally around 3.10.

So the VORG presents the top ten pitchers who compiled a FIP closest to 3.1415927 in a season …

Player Year Const. FIP Diff. from Pi IP BB SO ERA HR HBP
Mickey Lolich 1976 2.633 3.14165 0.000058 192.7 52 120 3.22 14 0
Dick Selma 1967 2.539 3.14146 0.000133 81.3 36 52 2.77 3 2
Antonio Osuna 1997 3.109 3.14143 0.000160 61.7 19 68 2.19 6 1
Dan Marion 1914 2.436 3.14122 0.000369 89.3 38 41 3.93 1 6
Doc Ayers 1920 2.749 3.14197 0.000379 208.7 62 103 3.88 6 8
Wish Egan 1906 2.366 3.14206 0.000469 86.3 27 23 4.59 2 2
Josh Pearce 2003 3.031 3.14211 0.000518 9.0 2 4 3.00 0 1
Sparky Lyle 1969 2.509 3.14212 0.000525 102.7 48 93 2.54 8 1
Mike Hedlund 1969 2.509 3.14100 0.000593 125.0 40 74 3.24 8 1
Duane Pillette 1955 2.368 3.14220 0.000603 20.7 14 13 6.53 0 0

Minutia:

  • The most recent pitcher to achieve a FIP of 3.14 in a season was Joel Peralta, with a 3.139776119 in 2012.
  • Third baseman Gary Gaetti compiled a FIP of 3.14 while pitching one inning in 1998.
  • Shortstop Shane Halter matched Gaetti’s feat in the same season.
  • Colorado Rockies reliever Lariel Gonzalez appeared in one game in his major league career, and pitched one inning. He ended it with a 3.14 FIP.
  • Robin Roberts holds the record for most innings pitched in a 3.14 FIP season, with 315 in 1951.

3 thoughts on “You Can’t Spell “FIP” Without “Pi”

  1. Using Basebaff Reference’s FIP version, there are the career (1000+ IP) Pi-men:

    Jim Maloney 3.130
    Elmer Knetzer 3.133
    Jeff Pfeffer 3.133
    Art Fromme 3.140
    Gary Lavelle 3.140
    Bernie Boland 3.145
    Steve Carlton 3.152

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