PBR Introduces Sink Score


Zach Day / Joe Dattoli
Senior Advisor / West Coast Operations Director

Sink Quantified

Until now, the word 'sink' has been used to describe a fastball that visually drops and runs arms side through the strike zone. You can say fastballs with extreme sink have lower spin with horizontal movement characteristics, or low backspin. Submarine pitchers can impart topspin which increases their ability to create sink on their fastball.

Sinking fastballs visually drop through the strike zone generating higher ground ball percentages when thrown down in the strike zone. PBR’s goal was to be able to objectively quantify fastballs with sink characteristics across levels. 

What is a Sink? 

Sink is defined as a fastball that visually drops and runs arms side through the strike zone.

Sink Score

Using advanced pitch data metrics, PBR’s analytics department has developed a sink score to easily compare fastballs across multiple levels. 

Sink+ Stats

The Sink+ stat takes and normalizes our Sink score across an entire level. Sink+ is calculated by dividing a Pitcher’s sink by the mean sink of the level of play and multiplying by 100. In other words, the mean Hop is set to 100 and 1 unit above or below that is equal to being 1% above or below that mean for the level of play.

MLB SINK+ LEADERS 2021

RANK PITCHER YEAR SINK+
1 Tanner Houck 2021 151
2 Logan Webb 2021
150
3 Randy Dobnak 2021
148
4 Aaron Bummer 2021
148
5 T.J. McFarland 2021 146
6 Ryan Weber 2021 143
7 Justin Lawrence 2021 141
8 Anthony Bender 2021 141
9 John King 2021 139
10 J.C. Mejía 2021 137
11 Nick Sandlin 2021 135
12 Carlos Martínez 2021 134
13 Jeurys Familia 2021 133
14 Aaron Loup 2021 132
15 Luis Castillo 2021 131
16 Humberto Castellanos 2021 131
17 Josh Fleming 2021 128
18 Richard Bleier 2021 128
19 Marcus Stroman 2021 128
20 Chris Mazza 2021 127

 

MLB SINK+ LEADERS 2015-2021

RANK PITCHER YEAR SINK+
1 Austin Brice 2019 155
2 Jared Hughes 2018
154
3 Carson Smith 2015
153
4 Randy Dobnak 2020
152
5 Tanner Houck 2021 151
6 Jared Hughes 2019 150
7 Logan Webb 2021 150
8 Jared Hughes 2020 149
9 Randy Dobnak 2021 148
10 Aaron Bummer 2021 148
11 Trevor Hildenberger 2018 148
12 Justin Masterson 2015 148
13 Phillips Valdez 2019 147
14 Aaron Bummer 2020 146
15 Andrew Triggs 2016 146
16 T.J. McFarland 2021 146
17 Zach Duke 2016 146
18 Nate Adcock 2015 145
19 Cory Gearrin 2016 144
20 T.J. McFarland 2019 144

 

SUMMARY

We now have a simple way to objectively compare fastballs with sink characteristics between levels and over time with the Sink+ stat. The effectiveness of a fastball is very dependent on outside factors including location and pitch repertoire. In general, fastballs with higher Sink+ are more difficult to hit.

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