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Dave Bush, shutout monster

In this article about the Brewers homer-ific feats today, Joe DiGiovanni notes that today was Dave Bush's second shutout in only 44 career starts. It's no secret that shutouts--even complete games--are exceedingly rare these days, so I wondered just how notable an achievement this was.

So, in order to include Bush among contenders for the title, I set a minimum threshhold of 40 career starts and looked for those pitchers who turned the highest percentage of their games started into shutouts. Unsurprisingly, the all-time list is dominated by deadballers: names like Ed Walsh, Joe Wood, Addie Joss, Mordecai Brown, and Walter Johnson. Walsh tops the list at an astounding 18%, while Sandy Koufax is near the top of modern-era pitchers at 12.7%.

However, when the competition is reduced to active pitchers, the list gets much thinner, making Bush's accomplishments look pretty darn good. I only have career totals handy through 2004, so there are some slight errors in this data, but it does provide a general idea:

Best active pitchers, SHO/GS
Last First SHO/GS
Johnson Randy 7.7%
Clemens Roger 7.2%
Burnett A.J. 6.1%
Maddux Greg 5.7%
Mulder Mark 5.3%
Schilling Curt 5.1%
Mussina Mike 5.1%
Martinez Pedro 5.0%
Rhodes Arthur 4.9%
Morris Matt 4.6%
Bush Dave 4.5%

Among recent pitchers, Bush isn't the only Brewer on the list: both Juan Nieves and Teddy Higuera are in the 6% range. Bush certainly has a lot to prove before he can legitimately be counted among names like Clemens, Burnett, and Maddux, but in the 21st century, two shutouts in your first 50 career starts is an impressive achievement.

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