Baseball Pitchers, how much do they really pitch

With baseball spring training in full swing and the games finally being played, it is the annual start of baseball announcers starting talking about how managers should not overwork their pitchers because you will need them later. We will hear announcers state that there is no reason to go in the 7th inning with only 80 pitches, no reason to get the extra batter out, no reason to keep moving. This is what I hear through-out the year, during…

  • Spring Training – “You don’t want overwork your pitchers before the games that count”
  • April/May – “It is still early in the season, you don’t want to overwork players that you will need summer, plus not all your pitchers are in full swing”
  • June/July – “Don’t let your pitchers pitch too longer, since you will need them in the stretch run”
  • August/September – “Don’t overwork the pitchers now because you might need them for the playoffs”

While I do agree that in spring training pitchers should not have to over do it since the games really do not count, the spring training games should be preparing yourself to extended innings for the regular season. I mean if you can not use your pitchers for extended times during each month for the reasons stated above, then when can you? Not everybody makes the playoffs.

My other concern is the uncounted innings that occur on pitching arms today that do not count in the offical stats, do contribute to shorting pitching appearances and causing the less inning/more injuries. It seems that pitchers are pitching more “off the books” with side sessions, simulated games, off season work outs, rehab games and fall/winter leagues it seems that pitchers never seem to have time off to truly rest their arms. I’m sure if you took all the above into account of the total innings pitched, more starting pitchers pitch more than 300 innings a season.

I think the advent of the 5 man pitching rotation has contributed to the the above issues. While the 5 many rotation does allow more time to rest, it give the pitcher more time to throw “undocumented” innings pitched, more time for injury.

Now I don’t have 100% proof that what I’m saying in the above two paragraphs is what is really occurring, just my opinion, but if baseball keeps going with starting pitchers pitching as few innings as they do, then we can no longer call them starters, can we? We will need to start calling the starting pitcher the “first 3 inning thrower”, followed by the “2 inning middle starter”.

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