ERA, or earned run average, is the universal run-prevention stat used to evaluate pitching.
However, analytics have shown us that there is more than one way to do that.
The concept of FIP, or Fielding Independent Pitching, has been around for some time and may even paint a more accurate picture than ERA.
FIP, basically, helps remove defense from the equation and focus on the things a pitcher can control.
That is strikeouts, unintentional walks, hit-by-pitches, and home runs.
It removes results on balls hit into the field of play.
A pitcher with a high strikeout rate will have a better FIP than a contact manager, for example.
Strikeouts are correlated to outs and success.
Now, Strider didn’t win the award: his teammate Michael Harris II did.
But Strider had a very good case.
In 131.3 innings, he had a 2.67 ERA and an incredible 202 strikeouts.
His FIP, however, was a sterling 1.83.
Strider Had An Elite FIP In 2022
That puts him in some elite company.
“Lowest single-season FIP in the last 100 years (120+ innings pitched): 1.39 Pedro Martínez, 1999; 1.63 Corbin Burnes, 2021; 1.69 Dwight Gooden, 1984; 1.77 Bob Gibson, 1968; 1.78 Dazzy Vance, 1925; 1.80 Clayton Kershaw, 2016; 1.81 Clayton Kershaw, 2014; 1.83 Spencer Strider, 2022,” Codify Baseball tweeted.
Lowest single-season FIP in the last 100 years
(120+ innings pitched):
1.39 Pedro Martínez, 1999
1.63 Corbin Burnes, 2021
1.69 Dwight Gooden, 1984
1.77 Bob Gibson, 1968
1.78 Dazzy Vance, 1925
1.80 Clayton Kershaw, 2016
1.81 Clayton Kershaw, 2014
1.83 Spencer Strider, 2022 pic.twitter.com/M2Kzp1ryZG
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) November 15, 2022
That 1999 Pedro Martinez season with the Boston Red Sox keeps gaining ground as one of the best, if not the best, in the history of the game considering it was in the middle of the steroids era.
But back to Strider.
His incredible strikeout ability guaranteed his FIP was extremely low.
With low FIP pitchers, we often conclude that their defenses betrayed him, but this is not the case with the Braves.
The Braves’ infield defense is just fine: it’s just that he had so many strikeouts and conceded so few home runs that his FIP was always going to be better than his ERA.
He is a special hurler.