Is this really a mandatory requirement? Are teams being over-protective of their investments into these young pitchers? Are they really avoiding an injury? The state of mind of MLB coaches has changed over the years but it is really helping the game or the athlete?
Looking back you can see gone are the days of the 250 innings pitched in a season to throwing 115-125 pitches in game. Statistics that we would see from Greg Maddux, Roger Clemens, Chuck Finely and Randy Johnson during their careers. Some of these pitchers throwing 500-750 more pitches in a season when compared to todays pitchers with all these pitchers mentioned having very successful careers.
Looking at today’s young pitchers the pitching count trend is so apparent when looking at average IP in a season along with average pitches in a game:
- David Price 214 IP – 104 PC/G
- Cole Hamels 207 IP- 102 PC/G
- Clayton Kershaw 209 IP – 100 PC/G
- Justin Verlander 220 IP – 105 PC/G
- Matt Cain 220 IP – 104 PC/G
Seeing such a reduction in stats makes you wonder how much this is helping extend a career but hurting a pitchers personal statistics short and long-term. Why can’t a pitcher be judged and evaluated by velocity, control and command of pitches during a game vs. just pitching to a number? Pitching is an unnatural throwing motion and if an injury is going to occur an established number is not going to avoid the injury. How many times have we seen a pitcher have an arm injury in off-season workouts or during a simple Spring Training bullpen session?
Let the starting pitchers throw and not control them with a designated pitch count. What theory is in place that designates a set number? You want to speed up the game of baseball I think we have found one clear way to make that happen.
Richard Dudkiewicz Jr (Twitter @Rook33)