As analytical as Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter is, even the 2014 American League Manager of the Year might scratch his head over some of these obscure baseball stats. And if he won't, chances are you will.

Abbreviated baseball stats such as AVG (batting average), BB (base on balls or walks) and AB (At bat) are common diamond terminology that even non-baseball fans should recognize. But then there are more complex, obscure stats that would throw even longtime baseball fans for a loop.

These advanced statistics come to us from the sabermetric community, which is a analytical school of thought that breaks baseball down into formulas that objectively gauge the talent of a player. For some, this is superior to the old school "eye test" that scouts used to employ. Others complain that it takes the human element out of baseball. Whatever your stance is, there's no denying that sabermetrics have become a huge part of the game, with clubs like the Oakland Athletics, Boston Red Sox and the New York Mets leading the way.

Ever seen WAR pop up in a baseball game? While ERA is commonplace, would you recognize ERA+? We're talking everything from FIP and WHIP to LIPS. We've put together this obscure baseball stats guide for you to keep at hand this season.

WHIP (Walks plus Hits per Inning Pitched)

Deriving this sabermetric baseball measurement isn't too difficult. Select a pitcher and add his walks allowed plus hits allowed per innings pitched. As of Monday morning, Atlanta Braves starter Shelby Miller has allowed 16 walks and 29 hits (for a total of 45) in 54 innings pitched. That 45 divided by 54 gives Miller a Major League Baseball-leading 0.83 WHIP. Whip it real hard!

WAR (Wins Above Replacement)

Also known as WARP (Wins Above Replacement Player), this stat essentially creates the scenario that if 'X' player would result in his team winning 'x' more games than they would if a replacement player was batting or pitching. The higher the WAR number, the more valuable that player is to his team. This number is predominantly calculated by runs scored by position players. Of course, the more runs allowed by a pitcher, the lower his WAR would get. I declare WAR on you!

VORP (Value Over Replacement Player)

This stat zeroes in on how much batters and pitchers contribute to their teams, compared with a made-up position player or pitcher of league average talent. Now, detractors for this stat don't like that its gauge is a player who's an average fielder and below-average hitter.

LIPS (Late-Inning Pressure Situation)

Is being "clutch" a real thing? This stat attempts to answer that by measuring a hitter's average in late-inning situations. If a batter's team is down 3-4 runs in at least the seventh inning, then he has a chance to plump up those LIPS.


ERA is Earned Run Average, but what's ERA+? Well, the latter basically compares a pitcher to his league's average pitchers and is adjusted to the ballpark played in. Ideally it gives you a meter reading on whether the average pitchers in the league were better are worse than 'X' pitcher. Still with us? If not — strike three, you're outta here!

XBA (Extra Base Hits Allowed)

Tacking onto XBH (Extra Base Hits), but for pitchers, XBA adds up the total of doubles, triples and home runs allowed by pitchers. The lower the number, the better.

FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching)

We got this formula from FanGraphs: FIP = ((13*HR)+(3*(BB+HBP))-(2*K))/IP + constant.

Translated in English, this number gets at what a pitcher's ERA should look like, given a league average of balls in play. Pitchers who can make plays with their glove, resulting in outs, tend to have supreme FIPs.

Want a more intense course on sabermetrics? Check out The Hardball Times glossary. Just don't forget your calculator.

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