Last week James Shields became the first pitcher since Randy Johnson in 1999 to complete 11 games in a season and yesterday he became the first right-handed pitcher with 12 pickoffs in a season since Charlie Hough in 1988.
In MLB history there have only been 14 instances of a right-hander recording double-digit pickoffs in a season. Not only has Shields picked off 12 runners in 30 starts, he’s allowed a grand total of one stolen base all season while another five runners were thrown out. Add it all up and baserunners against Shields have one steal while making 17 extra outs.
He seems unlikely to get any serious Cy Young consideration, but Shields is having a remarkably good season. He leads the league in complete games and pickoffs while throwing 226 innings with a 2.70 ERA and 210/57 K/BB ratio. Not bad for a guy who led the league in hits, homers, and runs allowed in 2010.