Why WHIP Should Play a Part in All of Your MLB Picks: Part 2

Joe Gavazzi

Thursday, July 23, 2015 5:41 PM UTC

Thursday, Jul. 23, 2015 5:41 PM UTC

This is the second part of this series, where I explain why you should use the WHIP when placing your MLB picks. Follow along and find out how you can maximize your profit.

This is the companion article to “WHIPpin’ the Totals Part 1” in which we discovered the correlation between a pitcher’s road WHIP and his OVER/UNDER record. We found that MLB starters with a road WHIP of 1.10 or less were 132-90 (UNDER 59.5%) (with a minimum of 3 road starts thru Sunday, July 19th) and that road pitchers were 155-110 (OVER 58.5%) if their road WHIP was 1.55 or higher (with a minimum of 3 road starts thru Sunday, July 19th). Today’s article examines the home starters to determine whether there is the same correlation.

Earlier this season we explored numerous traditional ways to use pitching analytics as a way to isolate profit. There were varying degrees of success with all of these, including ERA (earned run average), K/ BB (strikeout to walk ratio), OPS (combined opponents’ on base percentage plus slugging average), and BAA (opponents’ batting average against). I then even put them into one convenient formula, which provided an index that can measure an individual starting pitcher, or groups of pitchers. All of these were found to be successful.

Yet none has proven to be more successful over the years than one of the simplest indexes used, the WHIP (a pitcher’s walks and hits allowed per innings pitched). For some reason, the MLB odds makers do not quite take into account this meaningful index, despite its simplicity. In our early studies of the WHIP, we noticed a direct correlation between a pitcher's positive TRGS (team record games started) and a WHIP of 1.10 or lower. At the other end of the scale we noted a direct correlation between a pitchers negative TRGS and a WHIP of 1.55 or higher. When I further isolated a pitcher’s WHIP numbers, it became apparent that the home/road splits of the WHIP numbers resulted in W/L percentages of up to 70%. With parity still ruling in MLB (90% of the teams each year play .400-.600 baseball), this can be a huge edge in the line, especially in the first half of the season. Post ASB lines, however, have often caught up to these class A or class D pitchers, eroding some of the value that has been accumulating in the first 60% of the season.

With that in mind, let’s continue our study of whether MLB home pitchers with a home WHIP of 110 or lower would result in a solid UNDER proposition and an MLB home pitcher with a home WHIP of 1.55 or higher would be a solid OVER proposition at home. As the records thru Sunday, July 19th will indicate, the hypothesis has indeed proven to be factual.

There are 42 MLB home pitchers, who have made at least 3 or more home starts and have a home WHIP of 1.10 or less. Their combined OVER/UNDER record thru Sunday, July 19th is ...

126 OVERs and 196 UNDERs (60.9% UNDER)

At the other end of the spectrum, there are 25 MLB home pitchers who, after a minimum of 3 home starts, have a home WHIP of 1.55 or higher. Their combined OVER/UNDER record is ...

85 OVERs and 51 UNDERs (62.5% OVER)

It is always nice when the hypothesis proves to be correct for both, home and road numbers, as well as the upper and lower end of the spectrum. Such is indeed the case in this study, in which we find success following the theory that a low WHIP correlates to an UNDER proposition and a high WHIP correlates with an OVER proposition when isolating a starting pitcher’s home and road numbers.

With 845 total plays in the study, over 90 games in the season, a win percentage of 60% is clearly something that should catch our attention. But, before you take off the rubber band, please note the following rejoinder, I mentioned in Part 1 of this article.

Since no singular indicator is ever enough to warrant a play, it is always good to isolate the current form of our starting pitcher, as well as his pitching opponent, to make sure they reinforce your over or under play. The same is true for the current form in team batting, as well as the YTD over/under record for a pitcher’s team. Using these in combination is a solid basis for your over/under selections on a daily basis. 

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