Patrick Corbin is enjoying a breakout season for the Arizona Diamondbacks. After posting a 6-8 record and 4.54 ERA in 107 innings last season, he is 11-1 with a 2.35 ERA, which is the third lowest in baseball among qualified starters, behind only Clayton Kershaw and Jeff Locke.
To some extent, Corbin's impressive line is a reflection of his own improved performance, but much of his success can be credited to great defense. In fact, based on plus/minus runs saved -- Baseball Info Solutions' estimation of runs saved or cost by fielder range -- Corbin has gotten more defensive support than any other pitcher in baseball.
While the D-backs employ some good fielders, there is some good fortune involved there that probably won't last. With that in mind, let's take a deeper look at Corbin and some of MLB's other "lucky" pitchers.
Patrick Corbin, LHP | Arizona Diamondbacks
Plus/minus runs saved by all fielders: 24
Despite the dramatic improvement in his record and ERA, it is remarkable how similar Corbin's peripheral statistics are to that of last season. For example, he struck out 7.29 batters per nine innings last season and has slightly improved that number to 7.53 batters per nine innings this season. His 2.28 walks per nine innings this year are slightly worse than his 2.10 walks per nine innings last year. The most significant differences between Corbin's 2012 and 2013 statistics are in his BABIP, strand rate -- the percentage of baserunners a pitcher leaves on base -- and home runs per fly ball allowed.