Schifman: A different sort of over-use problem among college pitchers

From SABR member Gerald Schifman at FanGraphs on July 21, 2017:

Earlier this week, I wrote about UCLA’s pitcher overuse problem. At one point in that piece, I provided a comparison between league-wide and Bruins-only Pitch Smart violation rates. Pitch Smart represents a series of guidelines designed to protect the health of young athletes.

The NCAA benchmarks I reported in that post on UCLA were slightly different than those I found last August, as Pitch Smart’s age 19–22 guidelines have changed over the past year.


By and large, the 2016 and 2017 guidelines are similar. But there are two differences: one is a change in the pitch boundary separating three- and four-day rest periods; the other is in the fine print, where it’s recommended that pitchers shouldn’t be used on three consecutive days. Because that qualification didn’t exist last year, there was a loophole in the “rules.” MLB and USA Baseball didn’t (and still don’t) set a firm ceiling for workloads — they say that the appropriate limit varies from arm to arm — so pitchers could throw fewer than 30 pitches each and every day without defying the guidelines. Now, a Pitch Smart-adhering pitcher can’t string together more than two straight outings.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: July 21, 2017. Last Updated: July 21, 2017.