Baseball has a stat for everything: WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched), LIPS (late inning pressure situations), ERA and IRA (earned runs allowed and inherited runs allowed), plus dozens more. But as my math teacher was fond of saying, “Garbage in means garbage out.”
Baseball’s nagging problem is BUSTS (bad umpiring and scoring tarnishes stats).
Players and fans alike are losing patience with inconsistencies among umpires and scorers. What good is a pitcher’s K/BB (strikeout-to-walk ratio) if umps can’t agree on the strike zone? How important is a fielder’s FPCT (fielding percentage) if scorers differ widely in determining what is a hit and what is an error?
...In most cases, scoring seems to protect fielders while boosting offensive stats. Too windy? Hit. Bad bounce? Hit. Ball falls while two fielders stare at each other? Hit.
During the All-Star game, outfielder Bryce Harper stood with a confused expression as Mike Napoli’s routine fly dropped to the ground. Ruling: a hit. Come on.
The trend to favor fielders is unmistakable. The 11 highest fielding percentages of all time have come in the last 11 seasons, and overall errors are down by about 25 percent since 1970.