The Baseball Observer Feb 2015 vol 1 - Page 13

False Safety Innings could be one pitch or 30+ so it has little to no influence on a pitcher's use, overuse, or recovery. The intent of a coach isn’t to harm or hurt a student’s health but there has to be a system in place that protects against over use. Innings pitched alone doesn’t do that. To make matters worse, most pitchers normally play another position when not pitching so they are throwing the ball even when not on the mound. Therefore their arm gets no rest. Tommy John Surgery on the rise Article after article written about Tommy John surgery quote orthopaedic surgeon after surgeon saying that over the past 10 years youth and High School players have passed pro players getting the surgery. To illustrate the point, one such article Youth pitchers feeling the pinch of Tommy John surgery epidemic By: Laken Litman July 23, 2014 USA Today Quotes: “The largest number of all those different groups, believe it or not, is high school kids,” Andrews told USA TODAY Sports. “They outnumber the professionals. There was a tenfold increase in Tommy John at the high school/youth level in my practice since 2000. I’m doing way more of these procedures than I want to.” - Dr. James Andrews This article mirrors hundreds of professional articles over the past few years bringing attention to the fact that Tommy John surgeries in High School players and younger have dramatically increased. All say the same thing – over use (innings & number of pitches), not enough rest (fatigue) and poor mechanics. Pitch limits would challenge high school baseball teams & coaches Pitch count limits would undoubtedly affect teams in some fashion. One reason it will be challenging for schools is that teams have to cram so many games into such a short season. This affects cold weather states more than warm weather states. An idea suggested that could ease the challenge is to schedule more time between scheduled games allowing for more rest. This suggestion would either decrease the number of games played in a season (which coaches don’t want) or lengthen the season. The problem with lengthening the season is that might not be feasible for teams where weather plays a big part of when they can actually start their season and when school ends. Example: ALABAMA ARIZONA OHIO MICHIGAN First Team Practice Allowed Jan 26th Feb 9th Feb 23rd March 9th First Game Allowed Feb 16th Feb 25th March 23rd March 18th It’s also a challenge when teams literally only have two, maybe three arms to get through a season. It would be up to a coach and his staff at that point to develop as many kids as they can. The mindset would have to be everyone is a pitcher until they prove otherwise. Even if it’s someone who can give just one inning occasionally – that’s one inning of pitches saved. The smaller the school, the more challenging it may be. So the development has to start early and with proper mechanics.