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New York high schoolers to start having their pitch counts monitored

May 14, 2010, 5:20 PM EST

Missed this from yesterday, but file this under good ideas: New York City’s Public Schools Athletic League has agreed to have coaches keep track of pitch counts of high school pitchers, submit them with game
results and post them on the league’s Web site.

Sure, they had to be threatened by the city council to do it, and there is no binding rule in place to limit pitch counts, but as with most things, information is power. If people know that a 16 year-old kid was left in to throw 150 pitches some night — which happens in high school baseball all across the country each and every day — pressure will mount to stop it.

Not that this is a completely black and white issue. There is a lot of interesting stuff in the article about just how darn hard it is to find kids who can throw the ball over the plate, which causes many teams to lean too hard on those who can.

Still, that’s no excuse to kill a kid’s arm, and when it comes to this sort of thing, knowledge is power.

  1. RichardInDallas - May 14, 2010 at 5:45 PM

    I Hate NY, but I like this…. a lot! My kid’s been over a hundred 3 times in his life, at his own insistence, due to the lack of an opponent’s hit late in the game. Never gone the whole way hitless, but never started another inning after giving one up when the count had reached 100. Usual stopping point in his school is 75-80. As it should be, but it should be that way out of care and concern for the kids, rather than governmental involvement.

  2. Jeremy - May 14, 2010 at 6:45 PM

    If this does become the basis in future for pitch count limits, I hope they think through the rules carefully to avoid unintended consequences. I coach junior Little League (13-14 year olds). At this level there are few kids who can throw the ball over the plate consistently (at least in our city), but there are also severe restrictions on pitcher use, based in part on pitch counts and required calendar days of rest. There’s also a rule which forbids pitchers from pitching in consecutive games, no matter how many calendar days of rest they’ve had. The rules certainly prevent the most obvious forms of pitcher overuse, which is definitely a good thing. But they also have numerous perverse effects. Pitchers are so restricted in how much they can pitch that coaches often run out of pitchers and are forced to pitch kids who’ve never pitched before. This leads to games deteriorating into walkathons, not to mention serious injury risk to kids who haven’t had practice pitching. Alternatively, coaches who fall behind early will often concede games after 3 innings in order to save their remaining pitchers for the next game. That’s a shame because kids didn’t sign up to play half-games. And rainouts never get rescheduled because no one has enough pitchers to squeeze in any extra games later in the season. As a coach, I absolutely see the need for rules on pitcher use and it’s great NYC is collecting data on this. But I hope they think through any future rules more carefully than Little League apparently has.

  3. Matt Carstens - May 14, 2010 at 8:00 PM

    I wrote an article a couple weeks ago about how the coach at Central Washington University was abusing pitchers to the extreme. One kid threw a 10 inning shut out, 174 pitches!
    http://observer.cwu.edu/story/questionable-decisions

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