Out% For Fantasy Baseball Week 8

Taylor Tarter breaks down the Out% leaderboard for Week 8

The new Out% leader is Sonny Gray, with a 37.9% rate on his sweeper. That is nearly 19% above the league average Out% for sweepers. He takes over the top spot from Jojo Romero, whose slider led last week’s rankings.

The other pitchers in the top-10 for Out% include Garrett Reed’s splitter — the best-performing splitter overall — as well as Romero’s slider, David Robertson’s knuckle curve, Colin Rea’s fastball, and Bryan Hudson’s sweeper. Curveballs from Nick Lodolo and Ryan Yarbrough, as well as changeups from Pedro Avila and Bailey Ober also make the top-10 overall out pitches.

One note is that changeups and splitters rank as the most effective out pitches. This means that if a pitcher is throwing one or both of them effectively, he should be performing well. Those two spots in particular are important for readers to hone in on, along with pitchers who are at the very top of the fastball leaderboard.

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) – 16.4%

Slider (SL) – 17.9%

Curveball (CU) – 17.8%

Changeup (CH) – 19.7%

Sweeper (ST) – 19%

Sinker (SI) – 17.6%

Cutter (FC) – 16.2%

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% is not explicitly tied to ERA, but each week it becomes more clear that pitchers with fastballs that can get batters out tend to perform well. All of the pitchers in the top 10 of fastball Out% have an ERA under 3.00 except Montas, Mize, and Falter. Only Falter has an ERA over 4.00. Most pitchers use fastballs as set-up pitches, but these are pitchers that use theirs as weapons, and being able to do so has led these pitchers to success.

Fastball Out% Leaders (16.4% League Average)

Trevor Williams, in particular, is notable here. He has a career 4.38 ERA but has a 1.96 ERA this season. Williams does not have a high strikeout rate but has made some improvements in other areas like walk rate and groundball rate that have led to good results.
Williams’ fastball has certainly played a part. He averages a tick under 90 miles per hour, but batters have had a difficult time getting ahold of it. It has a 17% whiff rate and a 19% putaway rate. The biggest difference from last season is that Williams has thrown his fastball less, and so it seems to have become more effective.
Williams has increased his sweeper and changeup usage, but his next best out pitch has been his sinker, which has a five-degree launch angle from the batters he has faced. That helps to explain the increase in groundball rate, and along with the success of his other breaking and offspeed pitches, and in turn why he has yet to allow a home run.
Williams’ success goes beyond his fastball’s effectiveness, but it certainly helps bring legitimacy to his performance so far this season.
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 (16.2% League Average)
Sinker Leaders (17.6% League Average)
Splitter Leaders (20.8% League Average)

Corbin Burnes has had a bit of an atypical season, with just an 8.8 K/9 rate after five seasons with a K/9 rate over nine. However, Burnes has improved in other areas. He has his best BB/9 rate since 2022, the best GB% of his career (50%), and his best strand rate since 2020. Burnes has a wicked cutter, with a 20% whiff rate and an 18% putaway rate. Batters have just a .180 average against it this season, after batting .209 against it last year. Burnes is tied for sixth in cutter Location+, which also makes it an extremely effective out pitch. Take a look at it here:


Tarik Skubal’s sinker has been absolutely filthy this season. His sinker has a .190 BAA, as well as 24% whiff and 28% putaway rates. Skubal also has an above average Out% on his changeup and fastball, leading to a 1.91 ERA, which is seventh best in the league.

Zack Wheeler tosses six different pitches, and just his cutter has a BAA over .200. His fastball and cutter are his only pitches that rank below league average in Out%. His splitter arguably is his second-best pitch behind his sweeper. Wheeler’s splitter possesses a .136 BAA, a 32% whiff rate, and a 24% putaway rate. In 82 times thrown, batters have just three hits against it. Pitchers who have elite splitters possess one of the most effective out pitches in baseball. It is a new pitch for Wheeler this season, and as the season goes on, he may throw it more. Pitchers who throw their elite out pitches more tend to have better results. Here is a look at it in action:


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 (17.9% League Average)
Curveball Leaders (17.8% League Average)
Sweeper Leaders (19% League Average)
Dylan Cease has performed significantly better than last season in terms of walk rate, and ERA, and a major reason for that is his slider. It has a .119 BAA, a 45% whiff rate, and a 28% putaway rate. Among pitchers who have thrown a slider in at least 25 PAs, Cease ranks sixth, seventh, and 12th respectively in those stats. He has leaned on his slider more than last season, while also adding velocity to it, and it has garnered better results. I mean, how are people supposed to hit this:
Tyler Glasnow not only possesses one of the best fastball out pitches in baseball but also one of the best curveballs as well. That makes him a dangerous pitcher for batters to face because of the variety of methods he has to get batters out. Among pitchers who have thrown a curveball in at least 25 PAs, Glasnow has the second-best BAA, the second-best whiff rate, and the sixth-best putaway rate. Only Zac Gallen, Nick Lodolo, Scott Barlow, and Jose Soriano rank among the top 10 in each of those stats with the same parameters. This is why it is so hard to hit and what makes it one of the best curveballs to get batters out:
Sonny Gray’s sweeper is the best out pitch in baseball after our latest update. It has a .119 BAA, a 52% whiff rate, and a 32% putaway rate, which ranks fifth, second, and second respectively among pitchers who have thrown a sweeper in at least 25 PAs. No other pitchers rank top-5 in all three categories. Gray added spin and velo to his sweeper this season but has actually decreased its usage. Gray does not qualify with only 35 innings pitched, but if you lower the threshold to 30 IP, he would have the ninth-best K/9 rate. His sweeper is a major reason why. It does not even matter if he throws it to lefty hitters, it will still get them out:
Noteworthy pitchers struggling with breaking pitches:

Changeup Out% Leaders – % 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 Leaders (19.7% League Average)

Man shall not live by changeups alone.
Yes, a high out rate on a changeup should lead to good results in performance for pitchers, but what is important is that they have other ways to get batters out as well. That is a major reason why pitchers like King, Ober, Weathers, and Canning have ERAs over 4.00. They do not have many other ways to effectively get batters out other than a great changeup.
Anderson and Blackburn have 2.71 and 3.00 ERAs respectively, but Anderson’s xFIP is nearly 5.00, and Blackburn’s SIERA is nearly 4.00. Understanding that they only have a solid changeup as an out pitch helps legitimize the idea that they likely will regress.
In the same way, Suarez, Skubal, and Ragans all have ERAs of 3.38 or better, due in large part to their ability to get batters out with various pitches in a number of ways. It is always important to understand these data points in context.
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. Shota Imanaga
  3. Zack Wheeler
  4. Tarik Skubal
  5. Ranger Suarez
  6. Tyler Glasnow
  7. Zach Eflin
  8. Casey Mize

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.

One response to “Out% For Fantasy Baseball Week 8”

  1. E Huff says:

    How is Eflin in the top 10 with three pitches but is STRUGGLING!

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