Sunday, July 25, 2010


Derek Carty of The Hardball Times had a couple of questions for me about my post on FIP (xFIP) and how I use it. I'll skip the more difficult question for the time being and answer the easier one:
FIP and LIMA look at exactly the same things (K, BB, HR), but FIP weights them properly in relation to each other. Why bother making the distinction? And why prefer LIMA? Sure, look at the components separately too to get a little closer to the "why," but there is very little differentiating the two.
The answer is simple because Derek answers his own question.

I should point out that I didn't say I prefer LIMA.
I still look at the LIMA indicators (K/9, BB/9, HR/9) when trying to decide whether or not a pitcher is going to get better, maintain, or get worse.
In most cases, I'm fine looking at FIP and moving on. Sometimes, though, I'm not satisfied with that and want to see more.

I actually like Derek's terminology here. FIP is the "why". LIMA is about getting closer to the "why". I'm still wary of a pitcher who strikes out less than six per nine even if that pitcher doesn't walk anyone (Carl Pavano, I'm looking right at you). And in N.L.-only or A.L.-only leagues, I unfortunately need to look closely at the dregs that might comprise the bottom of my staff during any given week.

The other thing I'd mention is that I recommend to owners learning FIP and more advanced metrics to get to know LIMA. Figuring out the "why" of what makes a good pitcher involves more than going past the ERA and looking at the FIP. I want to know why something works, and LIMA is a good way to figure that out...particularly if you're new to all of these metrics.

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