Brian Fluharty/USA Today Sports
Sabermetrics, also referred to broadly as “advanced statistics” or “analytics” are a growing part of the game of modern baseball. They look beyond traditional stats such as batting average and home runs to measure a player’s value. As a fan, player, or coach, it’s important to understand these statistics and how they evaluate a player’s performance.
Here is a breakdown of some of the most commonly used sabermetrics in the MLB.
BABIP stands for Batting Average on Balls in Play. This is one of the most commonly used advanced stats in MLB and measures a player’s batting average exclusively on balls hit into play, excluding home runs. In MLB, .300 is considered an average BABIP.
WAR stands for Wins Above Replacement. This is a metric that attempts to sum up a player’s contributions to their team in one number. This statistic can be used to compare and evaluate players on both defensive and offensive sides of the ball. An average full-time position player has a WAR of 2.
wRC+ stands for Weighted Runs Created Plus. This is one of the most commonly used stats in MLB for hitters. It measures the Runs Created by a player while taking into account different league factors. This metric is useful to compare players that play in different ballparks or even different eras. 100 represents a league average wRC+.
OPS+ stands for On Base Plus Slugging Plus. This stat is used to measure a player’s offensive abilities. This statistic normalizes a player’s OPS — it adjusts for small variables that might affect OPS scores (e.g. park effects) and puts the statistic on an easy-to-understand scale. It can be used interchangeably with wRC+. 100 represents a league average OPS+.
FIP stands for Fielding Independent Pitching and it measures a pitcher’s effectiveness, excluding plays that would involve the defense trying to field the ball. A player with 4.00 FIP would be close to league average.
xFIP stands for Expected Fielding Independent Pitching. This metric finds a pitcher’s FIP, but uses the projected home-run rate instead of the actual number of home runs allowed by a pitcher. xFIP is useful because it attempts to remove some of the randomness in a pitcher’s actual performance.
DRS stands for Defensive Runs Saved and it measures the number of runs a player saved or cost his team defensively compared to an average player. This stat can be used to rate players as above or below average on defense. Any positive number is considered above average DRS, with the best fielders typically having a DRS ranging from 15-20 for a season.
More information on these statistics and others is available at the glossary on Fangraphs.