The Ole Ball Game

How many pitches should a 17 yr old throw in 1 day?

Anonymous asked: My son pitched a double header last year with a total of 204 pitches. He spent 1 1/2 innings at short stop also. This year, first game of the year, he pitched 140 pitches. He does not throw fast probably low 60's, wicked curve, most utilized pitch.


:Rick answered: Thank you for your question!

Let me say right off, no pitcher at any level, or any age, should throw a double header.

Per game, 140 pitches far exceeds where a pitcher should be, at any point in the season.

Dr. James Andrews, one of the nation's most respected orthopedic surgeons, has seen a spike in the number of high school pitchers he has performed Tommy John's Surgery on.

In a 3 year span from 1996-99, Andrews performed Tommy Johns's Surgery on 164 pitchers, 19 of whom were high school age or younger.

From 2004-07, that number had jumped to 588 pitchers, 146 of whom were high school or youth league players.

The number one statistical cause of UCL injuries is overuse.

Below are links for two pages on this site which pertain to throwing and pitch counts, mainly aimed at Little league, but some really good insight from Atlanta Braves pitchers on pitch counts and types of pitches thrown, and when they would recommend learning those pitches.

The first is at Pitch Counts.

The second is at Pitch Count Restrictions Recommended.

Quite often the problems of overuse and the subsequent need for surgery do not show up for a number of years.

The debate is ongoing as to how detrimental the various types of pitches are on a players's arm. Some say the curveball is the hardest, others the slider.

One thing for certain, young pitchers are throwing more and more every year, due to the development of year round baseball. Players go from summer league to fall league, to winter league and back into spring again. Arms, no matter what age they are, need some down time.

I know of no magic number that has yet been determined. Research is ongoing. I personally like to stay in the 85-100 pitch range.

Perhaps this posting will be interesting to our readers and in turn generate some additional thoughts on the subject.

Good luck as you move forward.

Yours in baseball,

Rick







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