Out% for Fantasy Baseball Week 3

Taylor Tarter breaks down the Out% leaderboard for Week 3

This offseason, I wrote an article about a new stat that we developed here at Pitcherlist called Out% or Out Rate. In a basic sense, Out% tells us how good a pitcher’s pitches are at inducing outs. You can read more about it in depth here.

While Out% is not sticky as a year-to-year predictive stat, it does have immense fantasy baseball relevance. When taken into context with other metrics, Out% can help fantasy managers understand why pitchers may be struggling or performing well even in spite of other underlying metrics pointing one way or another.

For example, a low strikeout pitcher like Dane Dunning from last season had great Out% data, meaning that even though he was not striking batters out at a high rate, he was able to induce outs in other ways. So even though he may have had an inflated xFIP or SIERA, his 3.70 ERA makes sense when you consider how good he was at simply getting batters out.

Our Out% leaderboard is linked here and will update every Friday, and I will help provide some context to the data in this article series this season. This is such a small sample size, but let’s look at what the data is telling us so far.


Average Out%


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

Fastball (FF) – 16.2%

Slider (SL) – 18.2%

Curveball (CU) – 16.9%

Changeup (CH) – 19.8%

Sweeper (ST) – 17.2%

Sinker (SI) – 17.2%

Cutter (FC) – 17.5%

Splitter (FS) – 23.1%


Fastball Out% Leaders


It is super important to have a fastball that is an effective pitch at getting batters out. Because fastballs are not typically out pitches, when a pitcher has a fastball that results in outs at a high rate, you should take note.

Some of the best pitchers from last season like George Kirby had great Out% on his fastball. Pitchers also sequence offspeed and breaking pitches based on their fastballs, making a good fastball especially important. Here is the top-10 for Fastball Out%.

  1. Yu Darvish
  2. Logan Gilbert
  3. Kutter Crawford
  4. Frankie Montas
  5. Enyel De Los Santos
  6. Trevor Williams
  7. J.P. France
  8. Robert Garcia
  9. Guillo Zuñiga
  10. Reese Olson

Some of these are relievers, so to focus more on starting pitchers, here are some notables that have thrown a league-average amount of fastballs or more this season and have at least a 20% fastball Out Rate.

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

Some things that I like to see are pitchers like Kevin Gausman, who is off to a rough start this season, with a great Out% on his fastball. In context with some of his other metrics – like his xFIP being roughly half of his ERA – his fastball Out% shows a much better pitcher, who needs to continue to lean on it.

On the other hand, George Kirby’s lack of early success seems more legitimate when considering his low fastball Out%. It is a small sample, so hopefully he can turn it around. But he has a low Out% on multiple other pitches, which is a bit worrying.


Cutter, Sinker, and Splitter Out% Leaders


Because these pitches are fastball-adjacent, let’s take a look at who has some of the best Out Rates for these pitches. Each pitch leaderboard is based on pitchers who have thrown the league average amount of each pitch.

Cutter Leaders

  1. Mitch Keller
  2. Zach Eflin
  3. Merrill Kelly
  4. Chris Bassitt
  5. Nestor Cortes
  6. Nick Pivetta
  7. Lance Lynn
  8. Nathan Eovaldi
  9. Cole Ragans
  10. Corbin Burnes

Take a look at Ragans’ cutter:

Sinker Leaders

  1. Luis L. Ortiz
  2. Aaron Civale
  3. Clay Holmes
  4. Marcus Stroman
  5. Miles Mikolas
  6. Jordan Hicks
  7. Jonathan Loáisiga
  8. Brady Singer
  9. Michael Soroka
  10. Ross Stripling

Splitter Leaders

  1. Fernando Cruz
  2. Zack Wheeler
  3. Mark Leiter Jr.
  4. Cal Quantrill
  5. Casey Mize
  6. Joe Ryan
  7. Yu Darvish
  8. Tyler Beede
  9. Bryce Miller
  10. George Kirby

For pitchers without a four seamer, this is also a good place to look for how well pitchers are doing. Miles Mikolas is an interesting name here. He typically carries a low strikeout rate, but has an elite sinker. On top of that, he also has a top slider. Mikolas has a 6.10 ERA but a 3.87 xFIP. That ERA should drop if he continues leaning on these pitches. The sample size is very small right now, but he has a 45% GB rate for his career, and it is just 33% so far. Leaning on pitches like a sinker and slider will help get that GB% up and hopefully lead to more success.

Here are a few pitchers whose cutters, sinkers, and splitters have been lacking.

A.J. Puk’s struggles seem to be legitimate and fantasy managers should be concerned. He has struggled to get batters out with multiple pitches this season.


Slider, Curveball, and Sweeper Out% Leaders


One important piece of information we learned from last year’s data is that aside from pitchers needing an effective fastball, having an effective breaking pitch is essential to doing well. A high volume of elite breaking pitches helps a pitcher immensely, so let’s look at some of the best breaking pitches according to Out%. All of these leaderboards are based on pitchers who have thrown the league average amount of pitches for each pitch.

Slider Leaders

  1. Shane Bieber
  2. Ian Hamilton
  3. Cristian Javier
  4. Joe Musgrove
  5. Dylan Cease
  6. Ronel Blanco
  7. Tanner Houck
  8. Jack Flaherty
  9. Miles Mikolas
  10. Zack Littell

Curveball Leaders

  1. Zach Eflin
  2. Corbin Burnes
  3. Bowden Francis
  4. Ryan Yarbrough
  5. Charlie Morton
  6. Jose Quintana
  7. James McArthur
  8. Tyler Glasnow
  9. Seth Lugo
  10. Chris Bassitt

Here’s Eflin’s curve:

Sweeper Leaders

  1. Aaron Civale
  2. Nick Pivetta
  3. Kyle Gibson
  4. Zack Wheeler
  5. Kutter Crawford
  6. Josiah Gray
  7. Pablo López
  8. JP Sears
  9. Logan Allen
  10. Mitch Keller

Miles Mikolas shows up on another leaderboard, emphasizing why fantasy managers should be patient with him. Nick Pivetta has had great success early this season, and an elite sweeper/cutter combo helps make sense of that success. Here is a look at his sweeper:

Noteworthy pitchers struggling with breaking pitches:

There are some pitchers here who I am not worried about. While Tyler Glasnow has struggled to get outs with his slider and Pablo López has struggled with his curveball, they both possess other excellent breaking pitches. If they can manage to improve their secondary breaking pitches, they would be nearly unhittable.

Finally, pitchers that can keep batters guessing with offspeed pitches like changeups often do well. Changeups are pitches that can induce swings and misses, and because pitchers typically throw changeups low in the zone, they often result in ground balls. Some of the best groundball pitchers in baseball like Logan Webb have elite changeup Out%. Here are the leaders in changeup Out% based on pitchers who have thrown the league average amount of changeups.

  1. Merrill Kelly
  2. Ronel Blanco
  3. Tyler Anderson
  4. Gavin Stone
  5. Cristopher Sánchez
  6. Ross Stripling
  7. Logan Allen
  8. Pablo López
  9. Martín Pérez
  10. Steven Matz

Merrill Kelly had a great changeup last season and it tops the list early this season. Logan Allen has an excellent changeup and breaking pitch. I would love to see his fastball improve to round out his arsenal.

Here are some pitchers whose changeups have not performed well

Cristian Javier needs his changeup to work to be successful against lefty hitters. While his slider is elite, this is something we have seen with him before. He has struggled against lefty batters in prior seasons because he did not have an effective out pitch against them. He appears to have the same issue this season because, despite his 0.00 ERA, he has a 5.43 xFIP.

As we accrue more data, the average Out% will fluctuate, and pitchers will continue to adjust. Make sure to use this in context with other metrics to get a full picture of pitcher performance.

So far, here are my top 10 pitchers to target in fantasy baseball based on Out% data:

  1. Tyler Glasnow
  2. Cole Ragans
  3. Yu Darvish
  4. Zach Eflin
  5. Lance Lynn
  6. Chris Bassitt
  7. Logan Allen
  8. Merrill Kelly
  9. Pablo López
  10. Miles Mikolas

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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