Out% For Fantasy Baseball Week 5

Taylor Tarter breaks down the Out% leaderboard for Week 5

I received a great question about Out% on my last update. Why isn’t someone like Cole Ragans, who is clearly extremely talented, showing up on the Out% leaderboards?

The answer is that a combination of factors keeps him off the top 10 for the pitches he throws. He is extremely efficient. Ragans has three quality starts in four games, despite throwing fewer than 100 pitches in each outing. He also tosses five offerings, so his pitch distribution in those games affects the amount he throws of each pitch. When I try to limit the results to just starting pitchers by making the leaderboards show pitchers who have thrown the league average amount of pitches, he may be eliminated from those leaderboards.

Thankfully, I have an Out% Google Sheet to share with you that updates every Friday. So if you want to dig more into the data, you can find out exactly where Ragans and others rank. Here are the results heading into week five.

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 from week to week.

Fastball (FF) – 16.1%

Slider (SL) – 17.7%

Curveball (CU) – 17.9%

Changeup (CH) – 20.3%

Sweeper (ST) – 16.9%

Sinker (SI) – 17.4%

Cutter (FC) – 16.6%

Splitter (FS) – 20.8%


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% typically carries one of the lower league averages among all pitches because it is used as an out pitch far less than breaking or offspeed offerings. That means pitchers who have the best Out% on their fastball arguably have one of the most effective pitches in the game. That has helped many of them to excellent results so far. Six of the top 10 pitchers in fastball Out% have a 3.13 ERA or better, with the outliers being Falter (4.05), Montas (4.34), Feltner (5.06), and Flaherty (4.44).

Fastball Out% Leaders (% League Average)

Cody Bradford had thrown a ton of fastballs before his injury, so he still ranks highly on the fastball leaderboard. Imanaga’s fastball continues to rank atop the leaderboard along with Falter, Gilbert, Muller, Montas, and Feltner – all holdovers from last week’s leaderboard. Here’s a look at Imanaga’s pinpoint accuracy with his fastball, a major reason for his success with it:

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

A number of these pitchers have struggled mightily so far including Luzardo, Brown, Bibee, Keller, and Maeda, who all have an ERA over 4.50. A better fastball would help set up their other pitches. While it may not be the sole reason for their struggles, having such a low Out% on their fastballs certainly factors into their lackluster performances 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 Leaders (16.6% League Average)
Sinker Leaders (17.4% League Average)
Splitter Leaders (20.8% League Average)

Keller, Crochet, Eflin, Gilbert, Kremer, and Lynn are the holdovers last week from the cutter leaderboard, with Keller’s cutter Out% increasing 2% since last week:

Aaron Civale’s fastball Out% is among the league’s worst, but his sinker is much more effective and he has begun to rely on it much more. Bryce Miller continues to rank near the top of the splitter leaderboard, but after a complete game last week, Houck’s splitter has become one of the best, in terms of Out%:

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.

If Brown had a better fastball, we might not worry too much about his low cutter Out%. But since they’re both low, it is extra concerning.

Quantrill has also experienced significant struggles this season. His career-low 4 K/9 rate should not surprise fantasy managers considering his low Out% on both his cutter and sinker. His splitter is his saving grace and a large part of his 45% groundball rate.

Montas’ low Out% on his splitter and cutter are disappointing, considering he has an elite fastball. If he could use these pitches more effectively in concert with his fastball, he could improve his overall numbers greatly.


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 Leaders (17.7% League Average)
Curveball Leaders (17.9% League Average)
Sweeper Leaders (16.9% League Average)

Javier maintains an elite slider, along with most of the slider leaderboard. New additions include Houck, Sale, Castillo, Flaherty, and Glasnow. Ryan Yarbrough’s curveball has jumped into the overall lead as the best out pitch in baseball, while Eflin, Henry, France, and McArthur also continue to serve up some of the best curveballs in the game.

Also, Eflin should be a target in every league at this point, considering he is on three Out% leaderboards. Having multiple ways to get batters out makes him incredibly effective. His mid-3 SIERA and xFIP are both lower than his ERA, and his Out% helps to back up the idea that he could be doing better. Here he is striking out the side with some of his best pitches:

Noteworthy pitchers struggling with breaking pitches:

Luzardo’s struggles can be further explained by a lack of success at inducing outs with his slider in addition to a low fastball Out%. While Musgrove’s curveball has not been an effective out pitch, his slider has – it carries a 29% whiff rate and a 24% putaway rate.


Changeup Out% Leaders – 20.3% 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:

Changeup Leaders (20.3% League Average)

Ranger Suárez supplanted Kelly’s changeup as the top changeup in Out%:

Gonzales, Rodriguez, Abbott, and Weathers also find themselves on the changeup leaderboard for the first time, after last week’s matchups.

For someone with an elite changeup and sweeper, Abbott likely should be earning more strikeouts than his current 6.5 K/9 rate. The strikeouts should continue to increase closer to his 9.8 K/9 rate from last season, as long as his breaking and offspeed offerings maintain their effectiveness.

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. Tanner Houck
  2. Jared Jones
  3. Zack Wheeler
  4. Logan Gilbert
  5. Zach Eflin
  6. Andrew Abbott
  7. Grayson Rodriguez

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.

4 responses to “Out% For Fantasy Baseball Week 5”

  1. D says:

    Thanks Taylor

  2. Max says:

    It’s interesting to see Flaherty high in the fastball leaderboard given how badly it performs by other metrics (.933 OPS for example). Any thoughts on this?

  3. Taylor says:

    This is a really good question. He has a 25% putaway rate on his fastball, and averages about 88 MPH off the bat from his fastball, and a pretty low hardhit% as well. My guess is he’s getting a lot of weak contact on it and is getting outs that way, considering batters are making contact with it. We’re working on getting more granular with the data to find out exactly how individual pitchers’ pitches are getting batters out.

  4. Max says:

    Interesting stuff! To my untrained eye, I swear it has this weird little late wiggle sometimes. Not sure how quantifiable that is though, lol.

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