In 3 starts this season, two of which came against the two top offenses in the National League (St Louis and Los Angeles), Brewers starter Zack Grienke has allowed a mere 3 pitcher bases while personally accounting for 38% of the defensive outs recorded via strikeouts. His ERA stands at an unimpressive 5.08, but that just goes to show what Dave Berri pointed out in Stumbling on Wins — Earned Run Average is largely dependent upon the defense behind the pitcher, not the pitcher.
22 of the 25 bases earned by the opposition while Grienke has been on the mound in 2012 have been earned on balls hit within the field of play and thus largely outside of Grienke’s control. The only “allowed bases” a Pitcher fully controls are bases allowed through walks, hit batsmen, and home runs. Of those 3 subtypes, Grienke has not given up any home runs, has not hit any batsmen, and has allowed only 3 bases on balls. So, Grienke is responsible for only 12% of the bases allowed on his watch. The National League average for pitchers is 44%.
Meanwhile Grienke has personally recorded 39% of the outs made on his watch, which is far better than the National League pitcher average of 29%. Taken together, Grienke has personally denied the opposition around 5 runs for the season.
He has been spectacular.