Detroit Tigers Minor League Baseball Commentary and Analysis
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I was posed the question after one of my posts regarding the topic of pitch counts. Now, there are not any specific rules that apply to this as far as Major League Baseball is concerned. This isn’t little league where the coach (aka the only dad who knows baseball) can potentially forfeit games if one pitcher throws too many pitches in a game, but for the same reasons we have rules for safety reasons as well. Pitch counts are in place at the younger levels to keep kids from damaging their arms, and I am hugely in favor of this mainly because I think too many good players are ruined before they get a chance to hit their prime. However high school starts to see players get abused because they have tremendous talent and coaches want to win so they get overthrown when their bodies haven’t fully developed. I owe a great deal to my high school coach Scott Spada for not burning me out, even though I didn’t see that at the time, and probably pitched myself out of my fair share as well. Back to pitch counts now. So for those who manage to make it out of the amateur ranks with all arm ligaments in tact and still performing well, they will find that pro ball to be a much better system for development. Let me give a brief rundown of how our system works. If you are a pitcher first year out of high school, or anyone first year out of an injury, your max pitch count is 75. Any college player, or anyone beyond two years of experience has roughly 100 to work with given the progress of the game. That’s just starting pitchers. For relievers most max pitch counts sit at 45, and based on how many days they throw in a row says how many days off they get. Now sometimes these counts work against you when you want to try and finish a game or if you’re wanting to get some extra innings in. But, I have grown to accept it and actually think that pitch counts are a good thing. Here is why. First in high school and college you have four years to try to win so some players and coaches will blow it out and put considerations for injury aside. Pro ball is different in that you need to think in terms of a career, whether or not it may happen for ten years, this is taken into account. Also the thing that a pitch count does is force you to be a more effective, efficient pitcher. If you want to last, and still put up good numbers you need to learn to get the most out of your outings. It is not easy at first but you get used to it.
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