Out% for Fantasy Baseball Week 4

Taylor Tarter breaks down the Out% leaderboard for Week 4

This is our second weekly Out% update of the season, and Merrill Kelly’s changeup has moved into the season leaderboard as the best out pitch in baseball. For more information on Out%, please check out my offseason article here. You can also check last week’s Out% update which has some information and explanation of the stat as well.

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.

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. They will likely fluctuate slightly week to week.

Fastball (FF) – 16.1%

Slider (SL) – 17.9%

Curveball (CU) – 18%

Changeup (CH) – 19.4%

Sweeper (ST) – 17.5%

Sinker (SI) – 17.1%

Cutter (FC) – 16.6%

Splitter (FS) – 23%

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% is extremely important. Fastballs are typically setup pitches, so pitchers that are able to use their fastball to induce outs as well as set up their other pitches tend to have success. Here is the top-10 for Fastball Out%.

Fastball Out% Leaders (16.1% League Average)


Logan Gilbert has looked great to start the season. He has performed much better than rotation mates George Kirby and Luis Castillo. His fastball has worked extremely well, inducing a 20% whiff rate and a 40% putaway rate. Plus, he has an elite cutter, which has led him to a 10 K/9 rate – the best of his career. Here is his fastball:

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

Nola, Luzardo, Brown, and Ober have all experienced early struggles. And while their low fastball Out% is not the sole reason for the struggles, it does help provide context. Javier has managed a low ERA, but advanced ERA metrics expect him to regress. I do as well, considering his low strikeout rate and high walk rate. It is only a matter of time before batters start turning on his fastball, which already has a low Out%.


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 Leaders (16.6% League Average)
Sinker Leaders (17.1% League Average)
Splitter Leaders (23% League Average)

Dean Kremer not only has a great cutter, but an elite splitter as well. Those help to explain his career best 44% GB rate this season and a hard hit rate that is better than league average.

Logan Gilbert also shows up on a leaderboard for the second time, possessing one of the best splitters and fastballs in terms of Out%. Here is a look at his splitter:

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.

Nola seems to be having trouble getting batters out with any pitch. Castillo and Gausman’s slow start this season also seems to have to do with their inability to get batters out with what are typically some of their best pitches.

It is not time to hit the panic button on them quite yet, but keep an eye on their Out% going forward, and if it stays below average, then you may want to try to find a trade partner.


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.

Slider Leaders (17.9% League Average)
Curveball Leaders (18% League Average)
Sweeper Leaders (17.5% League Average)

Zach Eflin pairs an elite cutter with an elite curveball, major reasons why he is so consistent in creating groundballs and groundball outs. Eflin has not been helped much by his defense, and his strand rate is unusually low, while his HR/9 rate is almost a full homer higher than normal. This all helps understand why his ERA is so high and why metrics like xFIP and SIERA suggest his ERA should be closer to 3.80 and 3.71 respectively.

Tyler Glasnow is another player to target in fantasy, as he has an elite curveball/fastball combo:

Noteworthy pitchers struggling with breaking pitches:

It is a bit worrying for a low strikeout pitcher like Logan Webb to also have low Out% on his sinker and slider. He has uncharacteristically low groundball rates and the lowest K/9 rate of his career. Those low Out rates help provide the needed context to understand why his GB and K/9 rates are so low, and legitimize his 4.86 ERA.

Other pitchers like Cody Bradford and Ryan Feltner that have solid fastballs, sinkers, cutters, and/or splitters have struggled with breaking pitches. That could lead to some struggles in the future.


Changeup Out% Leaders – 19.4% League Average


Similar to breaking pitches, pitchers that can throw an offspeed offering with a high Out% often will find success. Even better are pitchers with an offspeed pitch and a breaking pitch that can induce outs. Here is the changeup leaderboard, which includes pitchers like Paul Blackburn and Pablo López who appear on multiple Out% leaderboards.

Changeup Leaders (19.4% League Average)

Merrill Kelly has the best changeup Out rate by 7%, making it the largest gap between #1 and #2 on any of the leaderboard lists. It is absolutely filthy (watch the second pitch):

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. Tyler Glasnow
  2. Zach Eflin
  3. Logan Gilbert
  4. Pablo López
  5. Dean Kremer


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.

2 responses to “Out% for Fantasy Baseball Week 4”

  1. D says:

    Taylor, does a pitcher’s repertoire depth potentially have an impact on their Out% for particular pitches? For example, Cole Ragans has a deep repertoire, but is noticeably absent from this list (unless I missed him). In other words, pitchers with a deeper repertoire are less likely to have a particular out pitch given a specific situation and pitch sequencing involved. Thanks

    • It’s interesting – I think part of it is that when I am looking at pitchers who throw at least a league average amount of a certain type of pitch, he doesn’t necessarily meet that threshold. That could be because of his pitch distribution. It could also be because of his ability to get out of games efficiently. He hasn’t thrown 100 pitches in a game this season, but has three quality starts in four opportunities.

      What I will say about him is that his slider, changeup, and fastball all have above league average Out% without the qualification of throwing a certain amount of those pitches. So he is really really good at getting batters out. Maybe too good haha.

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