I have to come clean here. I've spent the last year or so reading this board, and the about the last 8-9 months posting intermittently -- particularly on game days -- on it. I like LSB almost as much for the warped senses of humor of many of the members as for the actual baseball talk. But one thing I must confess is this: I do not understand a lot of the advanced sabermetric statistics that get thrown around in discussions here. I only follow two teams: the Royals (the team of my growing up years), and the Rangers (the team I grew to love when I lived about 15 miles from the Temple from 2001-2007). Gradually the Rangers have taken the place of the Royals in my "who do I cheer for when they actually play" scale.
But I digress. The question I wanted to pose in this fanpost is this: what sabermetric stats are essential to truly understanding the game from an offensive, defensive, and pitching perspective. While I feel like I have a very rudimentary understanding of a couple of defensive metrics, the only advanced statistics I feel truly comfortable with are WHIP on the pitching side, and OPS on the hitting side. I know that these two have passed into such common usage that they are pretty much out of fashion for most who follow advanced metrics now. I am also aware of simple measures like BB/9, K/9, LD%, etc., that are easy to grasp using simple logic.
I guess what I'm wanting to know is this: what are two or three advanced metrics for each aspect of the game that would help me to not feel like a damn fool when reading some of the discussions that pop up regularly on LSB surrounding why a pitcher isn't pitching as badly as his ERA/WHIP suggest, why a batter is better than his average/OPS suggest, and why a fielder is/isn't as good as people think he is. I would appreciate layman's terms where possible, as for some reason I find it a bit more difficult to get my mind around baseball statistics than basketball and football statistics.
I really appreciate any help you guys are able to offer!