Which Players Are the Most Out-Prone in Baseball?

It's very easy to make outs in baseball. Which players are best and worst and limiting outs in Major League Baseball?

As a baseball hitter, there's one thing that you want to avoid doing at all costs when you step into the batter's box.

You want to avoid making outs.

As I mentioned in my Joey Votto piece last week, you only get 27 outs a game with which to score as many runs as possible. Every time a batter (or a base-runner) makes an out, it shortens the game, leaving you less opportunities to score more runs.

So, batters want to avoid making outs. Of course, this is easier said than done, as Major League pitchers do a pretty good job of forcing batters to make outs against their will. You see, they are throwing the hard ball very fast and making it very curvy or slider-y or change-up-y, so as to miss the hitters' bats altogether.

Below is a list of the batters who made the most total outs in baseball last season, with a minimum of 400 plate appearances (numbers courtesy of Baseball Reference).

Ian Kinsler5287264017.275.307.420
Elvis Andrus508685352.263.314.333
Albert Pujols4996953728.272.324.466
Hunter Pence4927082920.277.332.445
Evan Longoria4917002622.253.320.404
Adam Jones4826823029.281.311.469
Alexei Ramirez4826573515.273.305.408
Nick Markakis4797102714.276.342.386
Brian Dozier4797073323.242.345.416
Casey McGehee479691294.287.355.357

Outs made include any at-bat that did not result in a hit, walk or hit-by-pitch, including sacrifice bunts, sacrifice flies, double plays (which count as two outs made), and outs made on the basepaths (including caught stealing).

Detroit's Ian Kinsler made more outs than anyone in baseball last season at 528. Of course, he also led baseball in plate appearances with 726, so it's understandable that he would be atop this leaderboard. In fact, there are some quality players at the top of this list, including Los Angeles' Albert Pujols, San Francisco's Hunter Pence, Tampa's Evan Longoria, Baltimore's Adam Jones and Minnesota's Brian Dozier.

Of course, total outs isn't the best way to determine who has been the least productive with their plate appearances. So, I created another list which looks at outs made per plate appearance, or, Out% (minimum 400 plate appearances).

Matt Dominguez47660778%1657.215.256.330
Jonathan Schoop37748178%1645.209.244.354
Mike Zunino37047678%2260.199.254.404
Andrelton Simmons44257677%746.244.286.331
Gordon Beckham37048377%944.226.271.348
Jackie Bradley32142376%
Zack Cozart41254376%438.221.268.300
Jean Segura42155776%531.246.289.326
Kendrys Morales30340176%842.218.274.338

As you can see, Houston's Matt Dominguez, Baltimore's Jonathan Schoop and Seattle' Mike Zunino had the highest percentage of outs per at bat, with all three making an out in 78% of their plate appearances. Of course, everyone on this list made an out at least three-quarters of the time, with the common theme of low batting averages and low on-base percentages ever-present.

But how about the other side of the coin? Who made the fewest outs in 2014?

Daniel Nava274408214.270.346.361
Sam Fuld281576164.239.321.342
Evan Gattis2834011722.263.317.493
Ryan Ludwick283400209.244.308.375
Angel Pagan283413213.300.342.389
Juan Uribe284404239.311.337.440
Danny Santana286430277.319.353.472
Ruben Tejada287419115.237.342.310
Drew Stubbs2884242215.289.339.482
Chris Coghlan290432289.283.352.452

Boston's Daniel Nava made fewer outs than anyone in baseball last season, just 274. Sam Fuld made the second-fewest, however once again, the more accurate barometer would be Out%, which factors in the number of plate appearances these players had.

Sam Fuld28157649%436.239.321.342
Andrew McCutchen39464861%2583.314.410.542
Victor Martinez39864162%32103.335.409.565
Jayson Werth39162962%1682.292.394.455
Paul Goldschmidt30047963%1969.300.396.542
Jose Bautista42267363%35103.286.403.524
Giancarlo Stanton40363863%37105.288.395.555
Anthony Rizzo39061663%3278.286.386.527
Mike Trout44770563%36111.287.377.561
Matt Carpenter45070963%859.272.375.375

Interestingly, Sam Fuld was far and away the best at avoiding making outs last year, even though he only hit .239 with a .321 on-base percentage. Sometimes numbers are strange. But MVP candidates litter this list, which seems to indicate that the batters who avoided making outs the best on a per-plate appearance basis were the most productive in the league.

As for looking ahead to 2015, the best way to use this stat as a predictive measure is to take a longer view, say five years, and see who has been the worst at making outs over a longer stretch.

Alcides Escobar2244306073%
Alex Rios2199301073%
Gordon Beckham1844252873%
Melvin Upton2123291173%
Alexei Ramirez2376326273%
Alfonso Soriano1839253573%
J.J. Hardy2071286872%
Erick Aybar2140297972%
Ian Desmond2200306372%
Starlin Castro2280318672%
Aaron Hill1947272272%

Not a lot of star players in that group, with the exception of Ian Desmond and Starlin Castro. The players below, meanwhile, have been the best at avoiding making outs since 2010.

Joey Votto1696284060%
Miguel Cabrera2089337062%
Prince Fielder1882298663%
Jose Bautista1857293863%
Joe Mauer1650258464%
Andrew McCutchen2124332664%
Jayson Werth1798280664%
Shin-Soo Choo1887293164%
David Ortiz1805279665%
Matt Holliday2056314865%

Hey! What do you know! Cincinnati's Joey Votto is at the top of this list! Hmmmmmmm.

The bottom line is the most successful players make the fewest number of outs per plate appearance. As for the other guys, chances are you're not drafting them for your fantasy teams this year.