There’s a few people who are going to understand what FIP is. The people who scored a 2400 on the SATs. Or 1600 if you’re old school, literally. The people who use a Bunsen Burner to light their pipe. The people who know what is in a Twinkie. You know, real smart people. Me? I just know that Twinkies are delicious. Luckily, there’s people out there that figure out these highfalutin numbers like FIP and give ‘em to us plain and simple. Okay, so let’s take a Exhibit A pitcher who has an ERA of 2.75 but his FIP is a 6.75. A -4.00 difference. That means he’s been very lucky and there’s a good chance his ERA is going to go way up. So here’s a list of pitchers with the biggest difference between their actual ERAs and their FIPs. (If your guy’s on the list, it’s not a great sign.)
Kevin Millwood – -2.06 difference. Surprise, surprise or no surprise, no surprise. Either way, Millwood has been getting lucky on balls in play, leaving a ton of guys on base that should be scoring and, before yesterday, hadn’t been striking out anyone. The summer months in Arlington + Millwood = Uh-oh.
Matt Cain – -1.72. Seems like this guy’s been a sell high guy since his first start of the season. Here’s the thing, stranding almost 90% of baserunners is SS Minnow-type numbers. Hold him, and you may end up looking like Gilligan.
John Lannan – -1.71. Few strikeouts, plenty of walks, Nats pitcher, lucky on balls in play… I think you’ve heard enough.
Johnny Cueto – -1.54. He’s cut his walks this year, which is a good sign, and his FIP is only 4.10 so that’s not terrible. He’s young and will probably tire as the season goes on so he’s a decent sell candidate, but I wouldn’t move him for an Intellivision, unless old school video games are your thing.
Trevor Cahill – -1.18. He’s in a similar boat as Lannan. No Ks, plenty of walks, a team that doesn’t score many… Blech.
Rick Porcello – -1.14. He may have a correction in July and August, then, because of his age, he’ll probably get shutdown towards the end of August. Or he’ll have starts skipped.
Zach Duke – -1.03. His FIP is only 4.21. You’ll take that mark on the year from Duke and like it.
Joe Saunders – -1.02. I’ve been saying not to buy this guy since the preseason, so I don’t need to say more, right?
Ted Lilly – -1.02, which is a 4.06 and he’s about a 4 ERA pitcher so that’s not surprising. With his Ks, he’s well worth owning.
Yovani Gallardo – -1.01. It bummed me out to see him on this list. He’s pitching closer to a 4 than a 3 ERA. Luckily, he’s K’ing over 9 batters per nine. I’d put that in my pipe and light it with my Bunsen Burner any day of the week.