Mark Buehrle won both the Gold Glove and Fielding Bible Award last season, and justifiably so. The White Sox southpaw saved a league-leading seven runs by fielding his position, according to the Plus/Minus System.

However, Buehrle also excelled in the often-overlooked part of pitcher defense: controlling the running game. Buehrle only allowed four stolen bases in 213 innings, but he didn’t get any help from his catchers. Buehrle caught four runners stealing without a throw to the plate, and picked off four additional runners, tops in the league. All said, this adds up to four Runs Saved for the holding runenrs component:

Stolen Bases Runs Saved Leaders
SB CS by CS by Runs
Player Attempts Catcher Pitcher Pickoffs CS % Saved
Mark Buehrle, CWS 8 0 4 4 50% 4
Clayton Kershaw, LAD 13 3 4 3 54% 4
Justin Verlander, Det 25 15 1 2 64% 4
Several Tied 3

Over the past seven seasons, Buehrle has led the league four times and has totaled a remarkable 27 Stolen Base Runs Saved by controlling the running game.

Carl Pavano is the other extreme. Pavano has rated below average in six out of the past seven seasons costing his teams an estimated ten runs (-10 Runs Saved); the only thing that kept Pavano from rating below average in 2006 was an injury which forced him to miss the entire year. AL Central baserunners were thrilled to see Pavano re-sign with Minnesota this offseason. The worst pitcher at holding runners over the last seven seasons was Tim Wakefield with -10 Runs Saved.

Stolen Bases Runs Saved Trailers
SB CS by CS by Runs
Player Attempts Catcher Pitcher Pickoffs CS % Saved
Carl Pavano, Cle/Min 39 6 0 0 15% -4
Brad Penny, Bos/SF 31 2 1 0 10% -3
Jose Contreras, CWS/Col 26 3 0 0 12% -3
Tim Wakefield, Bos 26 3 0 0 12% -3
Chris Young, SD 20 0 0 0 0% -3

“Used with permission from John Dewan’s Stat of the Week™,”

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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids and helps people protect their assets as an independent insurance agent. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail