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@22and25 posted:

Way too many variables for a range or guideline to have any value at all.  How often did they pitch, how many days rest between outings, average pitches per inning/game, how prepared was their arm and body to pitch at the onset, what is their fitness level as the season progresses, the list goes on and on....

Assuming normal use, normal rotation, normal rest, etc.  Feels like there's a general number I can recall reading, 3K for the year or something like that.

What I am trying to say is there is no “normal” across the population of 17-18 year old pitchers.  I don’t doubt that someone at some point may have put a number in writing but its just not a number that can be applied to such a physically diverse population with any amount of accuracy.

For example, my son’s high school team had eight varsity pitchers in this age range that threw 100 pitches or more this season.  Not a single one of them prepared the same before the season, do the same pregame warm up or post outing recovery. They have different body types and throw within a range of low/mid 70’s to low 90’s with varying levels of stamina.  No two of them would have the same workload capacity in a given year.  I think two of them could handle 3,000 pitches this year while a couple on the low end might not make it to 500 pitches a year without breaking down.

Last edited by 22and25

Yeah, what 22and25 said. There's no one specific number that you reach that is all of a sudden bad. One individual's capacity to throw, say, X amount of pitches, does not mean individual Y and individual Z will be able to throw X amount as well. And these numbers can change based on a variety of factors, it's a dynamic system approach. might have a general ballpark to what you're looking for, maybe.

Last edited by XFactor

As a baseball dad and a lower level 30+ year Olympic development coach I would just like to add to what 22and25 said above. Pitching stresses the body and the body needs time to recover. If the body does not recover you are breaking it down, not building it up. Some pitching stresses the body more than others (for instance a 95 mph fastball stresses the body more than a 85 mph fastball). Given time the body will adapt to the stress (increased musculature and connective tissue). This adaptation will plateau unless the stress is varied (weighted balls, long toss, etc.). As a coach I try to keep a long term development (LTD) view and gradually increase workload and give time for optimal rest. The reality is that every kid is different, few programs in any sport keep track of athletes very closely, and eventually it come down to the athlete knowing their own body.

I went back and looked at 2019 LHP son's stats.  He threw 56, 56.1, 58.1, and 67.2 in HS for varsity.  Summer stats were 58, 66.2, 102.2, and 33.  So a total of 114 for freshman year, 123 for sophomore, 161.1 for junior year, and 100.2 for senior year.  Never has had any arm problems.  I didn't keep up with fall which was limited greatly.  He averaged 11.2 pitches per inning over career so 1276.8, 1377.6, 1804.32. 1122,24 per year.  I will agree that every pitcher is different.  My other main pitcher son's freshman year could only go one day a week and arm was worn out after about 85 pitches.  Each kid's make-up is different according to how they throw, how hard they throw, mechanics, physical shape, and how much throwing they do to prepare.  My middle son probably had about same numbers or more but totally different throwing style and he played before HS pitch counts.  I do not recommend most kids ever throwing what my son threw.

College has been a totally different situation because he is a reliever/closer.  Throws anywhere from 1 pitch to 4 innings.  Lot more breaking stuff because in SEC he has to since he doesn't have the flame throwing pitch.  I'm not sure he will play summer ball because of how many innings he will throw in college which will not get near his innings in HS per year.

This is actually a conversation that came up yesterday with my son's pitching coach. He is a Tom House guy and follows all of the guidelines/info that House has published. From what he was telling me yesterday is that high school age kids should throw no more than 1,250 pitches per year. Then at age 18, that increases to 1,800. Then I believe it was at age 21 it increases to like 2,200 or something like that. I have been looking for the House guidance online and can't find it anywhere.  1,250 just seems like a small number for the entire year.

@PitchingFan posted:

I doubt there are very few hs pitchers that throw more than 1,250 a year in games.  Or definitely more than 1,800. I always thought my son threw a lot to too much.  No one on any team close to him on total innings pitched.

The 1,250 also includes summer and fall ball according to him. For the high school season, my son will cross the 900 pitch count mark on his next start for playoffs. So if following those guidelines that would leave him with approximately 275 pitches left for the summer and fall if they don't advance.  Starting to think that may have to limit him to 2-3 innings per appearance for the summer/fall to get him through.

Last edited by ARCEKU21

My son started 7 of our 9 league games his senior year in HS plus another 3 or 4 non-league games and then 2 tourney 12 or 13 games as a starter at what I would average to be around 75 per game so around 1000 plus maybe a few more in relief.  He probably pitched 6 or so games worth in the total somewhere around 1500-1600.    A college pitcher on a team with a 3 man weekend rotation would start 13 or 14 games per year.  Assuming 85 or so on average would put him around 1200 per whatever he throws in the summer.

Last edited by Buckeye 2015

My thoughts EXACTLY on the pitch smart guidelines. I have no idea if that is accurate or not. If it is, that is ENTIRELY too many pitches for even a professional arm. My son had 25 starts in 2019 at Low A level and 132 total innings. I have no idea of the total pitch count, but let’s say 15/inning on average. That’s less than 2,000 for a professional pitcher. No way in heck I would want my teenage son throwing 3,000 pitches in any year. I would say that 12-1300 number is about right. Most frontline college starters are gonna be in that same 100ish innings over a season. So they are most likely gonna throw 1000-1200 pitches in a season. And at that workload, most aren’t gonna play summer ball. Some are gonna go to the Cape for a short season to get in front of scouts, but are gonna be very limited in the pitches thrown per outing. I wish I knew more of this stuff when my kid was younger. If I’m the dad of a prospect, I’m gonna put the limits on him as long as I have the control (thru HS). They only have so many bullets in the gun. Why waste it at 14-16. They aren’t getting a scholarship at that age. If they do, there are WAY too many variables that can change that over the next 2 years, as has been hashed out in this site before. So I can see throwing a few more innings than normal the summer between jr and sr season in high school because of the “summer ball pressure”. Other than that, my limit would be 100 innings at 100 pitches or less per outing. So that keeps you at or below 1000 pitches per season. Those numbers come from the mouth of James Andrews.

I haven't heard the bullet notion in a while, I mean we don't say that with tennis serves, or football throws, or swimming, or running (their knees only have so many bullets is not something I've ever heard anyone say). So why say it with baseball? I don't think there's an expiration.

I do like pitch counts and inning counts at the younger levels, but they're arbitrary. They don't tell you anything about the N = 1, or the individual in front of you. There's so much that goes into injury. And what causes one person to get injured won't cause another to be injured. And what causes that one person to get injured may not have caused an injury if that same thing occurred three weeks prior.

Further issues arise as highlighted last year:

19 youth baseball players (11 and 12) were given a sleeve to wear that calculated how many throws and high-effort throws (not sure how this was measured, can only read the abstract) they made, and they were far and away much higher than any sort of pitch count found the same tracking 34 high schools.

It boils down to a few things:

1) Are you prepared for the task? If I were to ask you to run 20 miles and you've been running 2 miles, chances are you're not prepared for the task. If you go from 2 miles to 20 in the span of 3 weeks to "get ready", that wouldn't be smart training. So, if you're asked to throw 75 pitches, are you prepared to do that?

2) How do you feel? There were some outings I threw 100 pitches and felt like I could throw 100 more. There were some I threw 60 and felt like I was gassed. 100 pitches isn't always 100 pitches, and 60 pitches isn't always 60 pitches.

3) Eating well. If you're losing weight while playing, you're in a caloric deficit. Less fuel can = less energy and recovery.

4) Sleeping well. Your body recovers while sleeping, if that's impaired you're not recovering as well as you could be.

It's great to follow a pitch count, it's a tool, but I don't think it's the be all end all.

XFactor, that was a “figure of speech”. I agree with a lot you said. My point is pretty simple. If MLB pitchers, with the absolute best training, diet, etc rarely throw 3000 pitches per season, why would ANY teenager ever think about that. I don’t care how much you prepare, how well you eat, how much sleep you get, that is WAY TOO many pitches. Most people on this site have HS or younger age kids. The OP was asking about a HS or college pitcher. So I will stick by what I said. 1200-1300 pitches per season is the target I would have with my teenage son. Period. Taking all you said into account would not change that at all. But that is one dad’s opinion. To each his own. I would rather err on the side of caution until my son becomes an adult and makes those decision for himself.  BTW, all the examples you used are “normal” motions. The knee joint was designed to move in the manner it needs to run. Same with swimming. You may have a slight argument with football. But the elbow was ABSOLUTELY not meant to throw a baseball at 90+ mph. James Andrews said the elbow can accommodate approximately 85 mph. That was studies done using cadavers so not 100% accurate as well. He told me and my son that any pitcher that throws over 85 is a pitch away from the elbow exploding. I just don’t believe the same stress is out in a QB. I’m sure it has happened, but I’ve never heard of a QB having TJ.

Last edited by younggun

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