The Baseball Observer Feb 2015 vol 1 - Page 12

Should there be High School Pitch Count Restrictions? Staff Four years ago at a high school varsity play-off game a team’s Senior starting pitcher threw over 170 pitches. The coach for the college he committed to was at the game and was absolutely furious. In an article last year a high school coach was asked about the 130+ pitches his starting pitcher threw and his response was that he “Didn’t realize he had thrown that many”. That same pitcher had also thrown two days prior. Another pitcher in the course of three days had thrown just under 200 pitches. Yet in all of these situations the pitchers were within the guidelines of their states inning requirements. This might seem like extreme examples but it isn’t. These were DI teams (large high schools). As you get to smaller schools – with a smaller pool of potential pitchers - it’s just as bad. Recently the Colorado High School Activities Association’s Baseball Committee announced they are strongly considering implementing pitch count restrictions in both JV and Varsity baseball but it came with some resistance. “Our pitching recommendations are reflective of a great deal of research that included input from baseball doctors, trainers, high school coaches and even major league players.” CHSAA Colorado is considering restrictions similar to the one already in place in Vermont. Vermont pitch count restrictions/ rule states: A pitcher who throws 76 or more pitches in a game cannot pitch for three calendar days. At 51-75 pitches, a pitcher must sit out two calendar days; at 26-50 pitches, one calendar day; no days of rest are required for anything below 26. The maximum number for an outing is 120 pitches. Maine has this advisory: A coach who has the best interest of a player in mind will remove that player once a total of 90-100 pitches have been thrown. But it’s an advisory. All other states use the number of innings vs. number of pitches. In 1990, the NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations) ruled that all high school programs must have pitching restrictions. This rule is still in place but pitch counts are not included nor suggested. It’s obvious that the intent for the rule was for the safety and physical health of the players. But only using innings pitched is “false safety”