The REAL Importance of Pitch Counts

If you’ve been reading MetsToday for a while you may know that, as an old-school baseball guy, I’m not a fan of limiting the outings of starting pitchers based on pitch counts.

Contrary to wildly popular — in fact, almost universally accepted — belief, limiting pitch counts does little to nothing in terms of protecting a professional pitcher. Further, the number of pitches thrown does not determine whether a pitcher will be healthy or injured. Finally, pitchers do not have a set number of “bullets” in their arm, and therefore there is no danger in “using up” those bullets, nor a need to preserve them.

All that said, there IS a very important reason why pitches are counted — the irony, however, is that few if any MLB teams know it. Or if they do, they certainly aren’t using the data properly.

Find out the main reason pitches are counted, and how the information can help keep pitchers healthy — at every level of baseball from little league to the big leagues — by listening to the podcast below:

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Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. James Preller May 9, 2014 at 11:47 am
    Joe, love your stuff, but I’m a reader, not a listener, so I hated the format here, where it was entirely dependent upon listening to a podcast.

    You lost me.

    • Joe Janish May 9, 2014 at 2:47 pm
      James, I hear you (pardon the pun).

      I rarely listen to podcasts, either — I usually hate them, as well, regardless of subject matter. So why would I keep recording them myself and posting them? Two main reasons:

      1. There’s a world of difference between me writing something on a subject on which I’m not an expert, and people hearing it “from the horse’s mouth” — i.e., from an expert.

      2. These podcasts with Angel Borrelli stem from the many phone conversations we’ve had over the years. In the past, I would try to engage in the conversation with her while furiously writing notes, and would never get around to typing them up, because every time we talk there is a WEALTH of information. Now, when we talk, it’s recorded, and can be shared with everyone.

      Several people have asked me to transcribe these weekly conversations. I’d love to, but, with my day job (which is often also a night job, and weekend job), I barely have enough time to get a post up here every day. It can take up to 3 hours to transcribe these myself, and I don’t have the wherewithal to pay someone else to do it.

      However, I will try to do some kind of text alternative — maybe a recap of what was said. For this podcast in particular, I absolutely will write up the important points next week, as this is one of the most groundbreaking to date. Also, I have a feeling that tomorrow’s roundtable discussion on MLB Network concerning pitching injuries will make this podcast even more helpful and relevant.

      Thanks very much for the feedback, kind words, and loyal support. I’m listening, and will find a way to make the information more accessible.