MSHSL Considering Pitch Counts for Baseball Pitchers
UNDATED -- The Minnesota State High School League is considering pitch count limits for baseball pitchers to help preserve their arms.
Some of the proposed changes for juniors and seniors include a 105 pitch limit followed by three days rest, 75 pitches followed by two days rest and a 30 pitch limit thrown on back-to-back days, but the hurler must rest on third day. Sophomores and anyone younger would be limited to 85 pitches followed by three days rest.
Emmett Keenan is the Activities Director at St. Cloud Cathedral High School and a member of the MSHSL board. He says the changes are designed to be educational for coaches, parents, and kids.
Keenan thinks most coaches support a pitch count rule. He says many coaches already do things to prevent over-using arms, but others may inadvertently allow a kid to stay in the game too long. Keenan says it's important to do what's best for the athlete long-term.
The MSHSL has already put safeguards in place regarding concussions and heat stroke and Keenan says any pitching changes would be to continue putting player safety first.
The league already has a 14 inning limit every three days, but it could mean a pitcher could throw 35 innings in a seven-day period. That pitcher could far exceed the healthy number of pitches under that scenario.
Keenan says pitch counts are becoming the norm at every level of baseball from college to the pros. He says younger baseball players are playing a lot more than in the past. Travel baseball and fall leagues means the arms of younger athletes are being used far more than in past generations. Keenan says a pitch count limit will help preserve a young athletes arm and hopefully avoid injuries.