I was talking with a 17u coach the other day and he was adamant that ALL of his catchers are pitchers.  He was very clear that he lets them rest, pitch, rest then later on in the tournament he uses them as catchers.  He said it makes the most sense because pitchers and catchers both need incredible strength, and while the throwing mechanics are different for each the strength required to make the throw is the same, and not similar to OF or the rest of the IF.  Also, it makes a better catcher if he understands fully how to pitch.

 

Now I have read on here multiple times that it is NOT good to have a player be both catcher and pitcher, it over uses the arm and will shorten the shelf life of both a catcher and a pitcher.

 

Anyone have strong feelings on this one way or the other? 

 

 

Original Post

We occasionally used our catcher(s) on our travel team (been together 12U-15U) to pitch.  But it was mostly mop up innings in a tourney.  We also made sure they were fairly well rested before and after pitching.

 

Personally I don't think its a great idea to have your primary catcher(s) also be one of your main pitchers.  

Directly from ASMI's position statement on recommendations for youth pitchers.  See #8:

 

Thus, the recommendations for preventing injuries in youth baseball pitchers are:

  1. Watch and respond to signs of fatigue (such as decreased ball velocity, decreased accuracy, upright trunk during pitching, dropped elbow during pitching, or increased time between pitches). If a youth pitcher complains of fatigue or looks fatigued, let him rest from pitching and other throwing.
  2. No overhead throwing of any kind for at least 2-3 months per year (4 months is preferred). No competitive baseball pitching for at least 4 months per year.
  3. Do not pitch more than 100 innings in games in any calendar year.
  4. Follow limits for pitch counts and days rest.
  5. Avoid pitching on multiple teams with overlapping seasons.
  6. Learn good throwing mechanics as soon as possible. The first steps should be to learn, in order: 1) basic throwing, 2) fastball pitching, 3) change-up pitching.
  7. Avoid using radar guns.
  8. A pitcher should not also be a catcher for his team. The pitcher-catcher combination results in many throws and may increase the risk of injury.
  9. If a pitcher complains of pain in his elbow or shoulder, discontinue pitching until evaluated by a sports medicine physician. Inspire youth pitchers to have fun playing baseball and other sports. Participation and enjoyment of various physical activities will increase the youth's athleticism and interest in sports.
Originally Posted by CaCO3Girl:

He was very clear that he lets them rest, pitch, rest then later on in the tournament he uses them as catchers.  He said it makes the most sense because pitchers and catchers both need incredible strength, and while the throwing mechanics are different for each the strength required to make the throw is the same...

 

Makes sense for who?  The coach trying to put together a winning program, or the player? How much rest can you possibly get in a 2-3 day tournament? The way I look at it, one of the biggest factors in breaking down the kinetic chain is fatigue. The biggest issue with catching isn't the throw-backs or the throw-downs, it's the workload on your legs. A pitcher should never take the mound with a fatigued lower half. JMO

 

Every kid is different. Some can catch a game on a 90 degree day and look like they didn't even break a sweat. But most can't.

A great catcher at son's HS committed early with an ACC school years ago, he was asked to pitch also in HS and ended up with Tommy John. Unfortunately, this young man, a nice kid,  has had several injuries since then.

 

CatcherSon throws faster than his HS P's, however he stopped pitching several years ago in fear of the above.  

 

MidAtlanticDad & bballman make great points.

Just looked up on PG.

 

Top 50 ranked 2014's, total of 5 catchers:

#4, Alex Jackson = C, OF, 3B

#24, Jackson Reetz = C, RHP, OF

#29, Cobi Johnson = RHP, C, IF

#43, Devon Fisher = C, 3B, RHP, 1B

#45, Chase Vallot = C

 

3/5 of the best catchers last year were also pitchers.....thoughts?

Originally Posted by MidAtlanticDad:
Originally Posted by CaCO3Girl:

He was very clear that he lets them rest, pitch, rest then later on in the tournament he uses them as catchers.  He said it makes the most sense because pitchers and catchers both need incredible strength, and while the throwing mechanics are different for each the strength required to make the throw is the same...

 

Makes sense for who?  The coach trying to put together a winning program, or the player? How much rest can you possibly get in a 2-3 day tournament? The way I look at it, one of the biggest factors in breaking down the kinetic chain is fatigue. The biggest issue with catching isn't the throw-backs or the throw-downs, it's the workload on your legs. A pitcher should never take the mound with a fatigued lower half. JMO

I agree MidAtlanticDad...but this coach did say they rest, pitch, rest then catch...they don't pitch after they catch.  Any objection to a player catching after the fatigue of pitching?

Originally Posted by joes87:

We occasionally used our catcher(s) on our travel team (been together 12U-16U) to pitch.  But it was mostly mop up innings in a tourney.  We also made sure they were fairly well rested before and after pitching.

 

Personally I don't think its a great idea to have your primary catcher(s) also be one of your main pitchers.  

BTW, I should add that the catchers no longer pitch now that we are playing at the HS level.

There are guys that do it.  Part of the problem is the fatigue factor.  Part of the problem is mechanics.  General recommendations are don't do it, too many risk factors.

 

If you know this already, why take the chance?  Some people don't know the risks, some ignore the risks.  Why be part of the 2nd group.  

Originally Posted by CaCO3Girl:
Originally Posted by MidAtlanticDad:
Originally Posted by CaCO3Girl:

He was very clear that he lets them rest, pitch, rest then later on in the tournament he uses them as catchers.  He said it makes the most sense because pitchers and catchers both need incredible strength, and while the throwing mechanics are different for each the strength required to make the throw is the same...

 

Makes sense for who?  The coach trying to put together a winning program, or the player? How much rest can you possibly get in a 2-3 day tournament? The way I look at it, one of the biggest factors in breaking down the kinetic chain is fatigue. The biggest issue with catching isn't the throw-backs or the throw-downs, it's the workload on your legs. A pitcher should never take the mound with a fatigued lower half. JMO

I agree MidAtlanticDad...but this coach did say they rest, pitch, rest then catch...they don't pitch after they catch.  Any objection to a player catching after the fatigue of pitching?

Define rest.  They should be resting as much as the pitchers after catching if they are going to pitch.  If they catch an entire 7 inning game they are going to need rest equal to a pitcher who pitched approximately 4 to 5 innings (based on some info I read a while back).  Which would equate to about 70 to 80 pitches.  The recommend rest for this pitching load is about 4 days I believe.  

Bryce Harper was another and he makes a nice segue to a point I want to make. If a kid is looking at the next level, I see no real problem with pitching and catching if his future is as a position player (catcher or otherwise). However, if he hopes to move the next level as a pitcher, get him out from behind the plate. Usually, by the high school level, you won't see stud pitchers catching at all and when you see a catcher also pitch, it's in a support role - not a heavy workload. At lower youth levels, it's sometimes overdone. My worry isn't with the arm, though. It's the risk of lower body fatigue.

One way to look at it is that every throw back from catcher to pitcher is the same as 1/2 a pitch.  If a catcher was on defense for 7 innings at 15 pitches per inning, he now is at the equivalent of about 55.  If you have him pitch 1/2 of the next game after 3 or 4 innings of rest, he might have 17 pitch innings due to fatigue or another 50 total.  Is he catching the next day again?  Wow!  Did your starting pitcher in the first game deliver all 105 pitches in that game?  No?  That's what your asking of the stud catcher/pitcher during the course of the day.  Only to do it all again the next day?  Ouch!!

Originally Posted by CaCO3Girl:

Just looked up on PG.

 

Top 50 ranked 2014's, total of 5 catchers:

#4, Alex Jackson = C, OF, 3B

#24, Jackson Reetz = C, RHP, OF

#29, Cobi Johnson = RHP, C, IF

#43, Devon Fisher = C, 3B, RHP, 1B

#45, Chase Vallot = C

 

3/5 of the best catchers last year were also pitchers.....thoughts?

#43 Devon Fisher Pitched 0 inning senior year on State Championship team. Drafted by Boston as catcher.

Originally Posted by CatsPop:

One way to look at it is that every throw back from catcher to pitcher is the same as 1/2 a pitch.  If a catcher was on defense for 7 innings at 15 pitches per inning, he now is at the equivalent of about 55.  If you have him pitch 1/2 of the next game after 3 or 4 innings of rest, he might have 17 pitch innings due to fatigue or another 50 total.  Is he catching the next day again?  Wow!  Did your starting pitcher in the first game deliver all 105 pitches in that game?  No?  That's what your asking of the stud catcher/pitcher during the course of the day.  Only to do it all again the next day?  Ouch!!


First, I'm going to question how you come up with the throw back to the pitcher being the equivalent of 1/2 pitch. If that's to be taken as true then we're going to need to start counting up all of the pre-game tosses made while playing catch. So if my rf'er, while warming up throws the ball 80 times to another player, he starts off with the equivalent of 40 pitches when I later put him on the mound? Pluss all the infield throws between innings?

Originally Posted by roothog66:
Originally Posted by CatsPop:

One way to look at it is that every throw back from catcher to pitcher is the same as 1/2 a pitch.  If a catcher was on defense for 7 innings at 15 pitches per inning, he now is at the equivalent of about 55.  If you have him pitch 1/2 of the next game after 3 or 4 innings of rest, he might have 17 pitch innings due to fatigue or another 50 total.  Is he catching the next day again?  Wow!  Did your starting pitcher in the first game deliver all 105 pitches in that game?  No?  That's what your asking of the stud catcher/pitcher during the course of the day.  Only to do it all again the next day?  Ouch!!


First, I'm going to question how you come up with the throw back to the pitcher being the equivalent of 1/2 pitch. If that's to be taken as true then we're going to need to start counting up all of the pre-game tosses made while playing catch. So if my rf'er, while warming up throws the ball 80 times to another player, he starts off with the equivalent of 40 pitches when I later put him on the mound? Pluss all the infield throws between innings?

roothog, I've seen that stat as well.  I think it came from Dr. Andrews work but I am not sure.   

Originally Posted by roothog66:
 we're going to need to start counting up all of the pre-game tosses made while playing catch. 

Pre-game warm-ups are accounted for in the recommended pitch counts by ASMI.  Warming up is factored into the numbers that they came up with, so you never include them in the pitch count equation.  In fact, warm-up pitches between innings are also taken into account in the recommendations.  The ASMI recommendations only refer to in game pitches to batters.

Originally Posted by bballman:
Originally Posted by roothog66:
 we're going to need to start counting up all of the pre-game tosses made while playing catch. 

Pre-game warm-ups are accounted for in the recommended pitch counts by ASMI.  Warming up is factored into the numbers that they came up with, so you never include them in the pitch count equation.  In fact, warm-up pitches between innings are also taken into account in the recommendations.  The ASMI recommendations only refer to in game pitches to batters.

How many pitches has ASMI assigned as "warm up" pitches?  10, 30, 50, 100???

 

Why hasen't ASMI (American Sports Medicine Institute)  come out with recommended throw counts for catchers?  Obviously they have strong opinions about pitch counts to protect an arm and things not to do, we see these rules mimicked in tourney rules...but if every catcher throw back is equal to 1/2 a pitch where are the rules to protect the catchers arms in those tournaments?

Originally Posted by CaCO3Girl:
Originally Posted by bballman:
Originally Posted by roothog66:
 we're going to need to start counting up all of the pre-game tosses made while playing catch. 

Pre-game warm-ups are accounted for in the recommended pitch counts by ASMI.  Warming up is factored into the numbers that they came up with, so you never include them in the pitch count equation.  In fact, warm-up pitches between innings are also taken into account in the recommendations.  The ASMI recommendations only refer to in game pitches to batters.

How many pitches has ASMI assigned as "warm up" pitches?  10, 30, 50, 100???

 

Why hasen't ASMI (American Sports Medicine Institute)  come out with recommended throw counts for catchers?  Obviously they have strong opinions about pitch counts to protect an arm and things not to do, we see these rules mimicked in tourney rules...but if every catcher throw back is equal to 1/2 a pitch where are the rules to protect the catchers arms in those tournaments?

It isn't an exact science, nor a "hard" pitch count.  Heck, even LL allows a kid to finish a batter after they reach their "limit."  If the recommendation is 100 pitches, then 105 or 110 isn't that much of a difference.  The idea is to prevent 120-150+. 

 

As for catchers and other position players, there is a difference between pitching and throwing.  Pitchers are throwing max velocity on every pitch.  Catcher's do not.  Trying to equate it to some percentage of a pitch is difficult at best.  So while pitching too much can clearly cause problems, the question is, is there evidence that throwing too much is problematic?  We have all heard the saying, kids don't throw enough. 

 

IMO, the biggest thing with catching and pitching is fatigue which is really what leads to problems. 

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