I like the 1516 9.1 RR reel.
I was doing my own comparisons between the 1516 and the 1016 and didn't find much torque loss. My chosen quarry were largemouth BUT there were a few small channel cats that were eager to hit a topwater. The cats, in my opinion, gave a better workout on the drag than the largemouth. The were digging toward the bottom, while the largemouth were doing acrobatics and fast, long runs.
Regarding the torque loss with higher retrieve ratio, yes, there is some torque lost as you go higher in retrieve ratio BUT the biggest differences will be between the something like a 5.4:1 or 6.3:1 than a 7,8 or 9:1.
The first major application with 1516 9.1:1=40.1" is topwater baits. Not to work the baits faster, although sometimes it works out, but because of water clarity and distance between targets and boat. Can leave a lot of dead water. I can imagine the same would apply for pitchin'.
Second application is drop shotting and similar techniques. Some depths are to 40'. Bringing the bait up with no bite, the time adds up.
It's like water finding it's own level. If the equipment becomes available, a void will be filled.