During the modern era, nurturing young pitchers includes strict pitch-count limits. The 21-year old Dodgers prodigy Julio Urias has 89 professional starts without ever going over the 100-pitch count, shows online data from games.
Talented pitchers in high school are easily scared from playing college baseball, as coaches could risk overworking their arms in favor of winning. Therefore, many believe if they sign with a pro team they pitch under a protective development plan.
On Wednesday Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer was named the National League Cy Young Award winner and while accepting his second straight Cy Young trophy immediately endorsed the game of college baseball as the foundation in his development as one of baseball’s elite pitchers. Scherzer played for the University of Missouri.
Both Scherzer and American League Cy Young winner Corey Kluber won for the second straight season. Both were two of 15 pitchers this season to throw 200 innings or more.
Scherzer said that if college coaches are willing to limit their pitchers to one game each week, pitchers are able to develop in ways they are not able to pitching every fifth day while in the minors.
Scherzer added that if you pitch once ever seven days, you can adapt more to a 120 or even 130-pitch count.
Scherzer said that he believes in analytics, and one of the rapidly evolving tenets is pitchers are far less effective during their third turn through the batting order.
In addition, pitch limits during the minors and hurriedly arrived to the majors complicated efforts of the pitchers to develop several off-speed pitches that are necessary to work through an opposing team’s lineup the third time.
Scherzer believes that once each month pitchers should reach the 120 pitch count as he believes there is more to be learned from pitches above 100 thrown, than prior to reaching 100.
Scherzer also does not believe that pitchers who throw 200 innings or more will become endangered species any time soon in baseball. A pitcher making every one of his starts and averaging six innings per start would finish close to or above 200 innings, said Scherzer.
However, the Dodgers used the new 10-day disabled list to give starters a rest and that could be followed by other teams.
Pitch efficiency ranks high in importance as well. Scherzer ranked 14th in the number of innings he pitched, but just 20th in pitches thrown. Kluber was sixth in innings pitched yet 34th in total pitches he threw.