Out% For Fantasy Baseball Week 6

Taylor Tarter breaks down the Out% leaderboard for Week 6

I had another great question regarding Out% after the Week 5 update. Jack Flaherty ranked as one of the Top-10 fastballs in Out% last week, despite a .933 OPS against it. The question was basically asking how it was possible that the OPS was so high, considering his Out% was so high.

The best answer I can give for him and others who have similar discrepancies is a little bit of an educated guess until we can get more granular with the data. The plan is to be able to see how individual pitchers’ individual pitches get batters out. For example, Flaherty’s fastball has a 25% putaway rate. Batters average about 88 mph off the bat against his fastball, and Flaherty has induced a relatively low HardHit rate against it as well. The assumption is that he has been able to induce weak contact with his fastball and is getting outs in the field, considering batters get the bat on it at a pretty high rate.

Eventually, we plan on being able to see what percentage of outs a pitcher’s fastball (or any other pitch) gets via strikeout, groundout, flyout, etc. For right now, though, you can use our Out% Google Sheet, which shows just how good or bad a pitcher is at getting batters out with each of their pitches. You can find the leaders below.

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) – 16.3%

Slider (SL) – 17.8%

Curveball (CU) – 18.1%

Changeup (CH) – 19.8%

Sweeper (ST) – 18.2%

Sinker (SI) – 17.4%

Cutter (FC) – 16.3%

Splitter (FS) – 20.3%

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.

Of the pitchers below, just Colin Poche, Frankie Montas, Chris Flexen, Emerson Hancock, and Brandon Pfaadt have ERAs above 3.54. Hancock, Poche, and Pfaadt have xFIPs that are better than their ERAs. Having an excellent fastball Out% does not necessarily mean a pitcher will do well, but there certainly appears to be a connection with performance, especially when a pitcher has other elite out pitches.

Fastball Out% Leaders (16.3% League Average)

Among pitchers who have thrown a fastball in at least 25 plate appearances, Jared Jones arguably has the best. Following those parameters, his fastball’s 36% whiff rate and 32% putaway rate both rank fourth. He gets a ton of vertical rise, ranking Top 10 in both average vertical rise and percentage rise above average. Here is a great view of how he has been able to utilize his fastball for outs:


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 Leaders (16.3% League Average)
Sinker Leaders (17.4% League Average)
Splitter Leaders (20.3% League Average)

Dean Kremer’s cutter has been his best pitch this season. It has a .189 batting average against, a 28% whiff rate, and a 26% putaway rate. In fact, he has a number of nasty pitches. Only his sinker has a BAA higher than .265, and four of his five pitches have whiff rates between 22-31%. His 4.61 ERA looks ugly on the surface, but he carries nearly a 2 HR/9 rate and a 16% HR/FB rate, along with a 58% LOB rate. Some better home run luck and better defensive play behind him could turn things around, considering his filthy cutter (he also has an elite splitter):


Logan Gilbert’s 9.3 K/9 rate and 1.87 ERA should be no surprise to fantasy managers considering his fastball, cutter, and splitter all rank among the best in Out%. His splitter in particular has been nearly unhittable, with a .063 BAA, a 56% whiff rate, and a 31% putaway rate. Batters that do make contact with it have basically hit it directly into the ground considering its -14 degree launch angle. Here is a look at it:


While some metrics like a 93% LOB rate and a very low BABIP suggest his ERA may regress, he has limited line drives and pulled balls, so he could potentially keep the ERA under 3.00.

Erick Fedde clearly took his time in Korea to work on a few things, and appears to have returned a new pitcher. His career K/9 rate is barely above seven, yet it sits at 10 this season. The reason for this season’s early success arguably has to do with modifying his pitch mix. He turned his curveball into a sweeper and dropped the changeup for a splitter. And while his “old faithful” sinker has worked well, his splitter has been his best pitch overall, plus his best out pitch.

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 Leaders (17.8% League Average)
Curveball Leaders (18.1% League Average)
Sweeper Leaders (18.2% League Average)

Reynaldo López has impressed early this season, posting a sub-1 ERA through 25 IP across four starts. A major reason for his success is thanks to a nearly untouchable slider. Among pitchers who have thrown a slider in at least 25 PAs, only Freddy Peralta and López rank Top 10 in BAA, whiff%, and putaway%. López’s slider ranks among the best in vertical drop, as seen here:


It has induced a -2 degree launch angle, helping him to a Top-25 GB%. This pitch is legit, and as long as Lopez continues to lean on it, he should continue to see success.

Nick Lodolo’s 34.7% curveball Out rate ranks as the latest top out pitch in baseball as of our last update. He tosses it a ton – 28% this season and nearly 36% last season – and we have seen from last year, that pitchers who throw elite breaking pitches a significant amount tend to see some of the best results. While his fastball ranks below average in Out%, having an elite slider should allow him to continue racking up strikeouts and keep his ERA low.

Zack Wheeler had an absurd sweeper last season, and it has performed even better this season. Of his six offerings, his sweeper has the lowest BAA at .067, and the highest whiff rate at 45%. His highest BAA belongs to his curveball at .214. And of all his pitches, only his fastball has an Out% below league average. All of this has led to a career-best 11 K/9 rate, a Top-10 GB%, and the 12th-best ERA in baseball.

Noteworthy pitchers struggling with breaking pitches:

Changeup Out% Leaders – % League Average

Similar to breaking pitches, pitchers that 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 Leaders (19.8% League Average)

Ranger Suárez has added to his K/9 rate for the third season in a row, while also improving his BB/9 rate to 1.1. His 60% GB rate ranks second among qualified starter, and his 1.32 ERA sits at fourth best in baseball. A major key to his success has been his changeup, which he has thrown 95 times. It has been hit once – here is why:


His changeup is the sixth-best out pitch in baseball, but his sinker, curveball, and fastball all rank above average in Out%. With a number of ways to get batters out, including with his fastball, his ERA looks legit. His xFIP and SIERA both are barely a run worse than his ERA, but if he continues to get batters out at this rate with these pitches, he may outperform those metrics.

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. Logan Gilbert
  2. Seth Lugo
  3. Zack Wheeler
  4. Tanner Houck
  5. Dean Kremer
  6. Casey Mize
  7. Reid Detmers

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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