Out% for Fantasy Baseball Week 16

Taylor Tarter breaks down the Out% leaderboard for Week 16

Sonny Gray’s sweeper remains the top out pitch in baseball, though its Out% took a slight dip from last week. Despite that, his 35.4% Out Rate on his sweeper is 16.7% higher than league average, and 6.1% higher than the next best overall Out Rate on any pitch.

The other pitches in the top 10 of Out% include sweepers from Mitch Keller, Bryan Hudson, and Andrew Abbott. It also features Reed Garrett’s and Bryce Miller’s splitters, Derek Law’s slider, Sean Hjelle’s knuckle curve, Grayson Rodriguez’s changeup, and Michael Wacha’s sinker.

Below are the individual pitches, the top performers in Out%, and a few notes on some of the pitchers who are performing well and those who are struggling. You can find more information in our weekly Out% Google Sheet.

Average Out%

Here are the average Out Rates for each pitch. We will use this to measure how well a pitcher has performed versus the league average. They will likely fluctuate slightly from week to week.

Fastball (FF) – 16.6%

Cutter (FC) – 16.6%

Sinker (SI) – 18.1%

Splitter (FS) – 20.8%

Slider (SL) – 18%

Curveball (CU) – 17.5%

Sweeper (ST) – 18.7%

Changeup (CH) – 19.3%

Fastball Out% Leaders

As I review the Out% leaderboard for each pitch, please note that they are based on pitchers who have thrown a league-average amount of pitches for each pitch. This helps separate starters from most relievers

Fastball Out% and ERA continue to line up as 10 of the 12 players on the fastball Out% leaderboard have an ERA better than league average. Montas’ ERA is just 16 points worse than league average, while Feltner’s is over five. Feltner’s ERA is no surprise, though, as his fastball remains his only pitch above league average in Out Rate.

Fastball Out% Leaders (16.6% League Average)

Seth Lugo is one of few players on multiple Out% leaderboards because he has so many top-tier pitches. His fastball in particular is filthy. It has a .165 batting average against, which is fourth best among pitchers who have thrown fastballs in at least 100 plate appearances. His fastball does not possess any standout metrics when it comes to movement, velocity, or location, but Lugo throws just about every pitch, plus the kitchen sink. And his best asset may be his sequencing, and his ability to keep batters guessing on what the next pitch will be. His repertoire remains one of the best this season when it comes to having multiple out pitches.

Here are some noteworthy pitchers whose fastballs have not been effective this season.

Cutter, Sinker, and Splitter Out% Leaders

Some of the pitchers below toss these pitches in addition to their fastball. Others use these pitches in lieu of a fastball. Pitchers who have above average Out% on these pitches and fastballs are definitely pitchers to target.

Cutter Out% Leaders (16.6% League Average)

Sinker Out% Leaders (18.1% League Average)

Splitter Out% Leaders (20.8% League Average)

Logan Gilbert owns multiple elite out pitches, which include his cutter and splitter. What makes his cutter elite?

He uses elite extension and impressive location, as well as above average velocity to make his cutter deceptive and difficult to hit. That has led to a .224 BAA, a 26% whiff rate, and a 23% putaway rate on that pitch.

Gilbert’s splitter is even more impressive, with a .091 BAA, a 47% whiff rate, and a 24% putaway rate. Only Fernando Cruz owns better numbers than Gilbert among pitchers who have thrown splitters in at least 50 PAs. Gilbert’s extension and vertical movement are keys to his splitter’s success, as you can see here:

Zack Wheeler is well known for his sinker, and what he has done with it this season is incredible. Even though he does not miss many bats with it – it has just a 14% whiff rate – he has managed a 26% whiff rate with it, the best of all his pitches. It has a two degree launch angle, likely leading to groundballs and groundball outs, as well as a .176 BAA on his sinker. What he relies on most with his sinker are elite velocity, extension, and horizontal movement as you can see here:

For pitchers without a four-seamer, this is also a good place to look for how well pitchers are doing. Here are a few pitchers whose cutters, sinkers, and splitters have been lacking.

Slider, Curveball, and Sweeper Out% Leaders

Below, you will find pitchers with some of the best breaking pitches in the league. These pitchers are using their breaking pitches to induce whiffs, strikeouts, and grounders on weak contact. The data from the offseason showed that the more a pitcher throws an elite breaking pitch, the better, so these are pitchers who have thrown an above-league-average amount of each pitch.

Slider Out% Leaders (18% League Average)

Curveball Out% Leaders (17.5% League Average)

Sweeper Out% Leaders (18.7% League Average)

Aside from Gilbert’s fastball, cutter, and splitter, his slider also ranks as an elite out pitch. Of the six pitches in Gilbert’s arsenal, his slider possesses the second lowest putaway rate, but the third best BAA (.201) and the second best whiff rate (34%). According to our PLV data, he locates the ball extremely well, and throws it hard, with elite extension. All of that combines to grade it as a Quality Pitch, and the ninth best slider overall. Here is a look at it from earlier in the season:

Like Gilbert, Seth Lugo appears on multiple Out% leaderboards, with his curveball ranking as a top out pitch along with his fastball. Among pitchers who have thrown a curveball in at least 50 PAs, Lugo’s .132 BAA ranks second, his 36% whiff rate ranks 13th, his 48% strikeout rate ranks third, and his 35% putaway rate ranks first. It also has the most vertical movement and the fourth most horizontal movement versus average. This is why it is so difficult to hit:

Nick Pivetta has one of the best sweepers in baseball at the moment. His sweeper has a .194 BAA, a 24% whiff rate, a 40% strikeout rate, and a 28% putaway rate. Only Bryan Hudson and Ryan Weathers possess better numbers in each of those categories among pitchers who have thrown a sweeper in at least 50 PAs. Pivetta’s bread and butter with his sweeper has been his ability to locate it well. And from what we know about Out% and breaking balls, the more a pitcher throws an elite breaking ball, the better it should perform in Out%. Pivetta’s sweeper went from his second-to-least used pitch last season to his second-most used pitch this season. Clearly he sees that it is working, and we can see that success manifest in top-notch Out%. We can also see it here:

Here are a few pitchers whose sliders, curveballs, and sweepers have been lacking.

Changeup Out% Leaders – 19.3% League Average

Similar to breaking pitches, pitchers who can throw an offspeed offering with a high Out% will often find success. Even better are pitchers with an offspeed pitch and a breaking pitch that can induce outs. Here is the changeup leaderboard:

Changeup Out% Leaders (19.3% League Average)

Grayson Rodriguez has had the top changeup Out% for weeks, and it keeps getting better and more effective. It has a .169 BAA, a 35% whiff rate, a 34% strikeout rate, and a 28% putaway rate. No pitchers who have thrown a changeup in at least 100 PAs can claim better stats in all four categories. He gets elite extension, which makes it incredibly deceptive, and that combined with the 10th most vertical drop versus average among pitchers who have thrown at least 250 changeups make his arguably the best in baseball. Here is his nasty changeup from a recent outing:

Here are some pitchers whose changeups have not performed well:

Pitchers to Target Based on Out%

Here are a few pitchers that I would try to acquire based on their Out% data. These are pitchers who are successful at getting outs in multiple ways with multiple pitches.

  1. George Kirby
  2. Logan Gilbert
  3. Ranger Suárez
  4. Tarik Skubal
  5. Zach Eflin
  6. Seth Lugo
  7. Bryce Miller

Taylor Tarter

Taylor is a fantasy baseball champion that has been playing for over a decade. Tune into his podcast, Fastball Fantasy Baseball, every Wednesday for in depth analysis making sabermetrics friendly to the everyday fantasy player.

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