Schifman: How hard are college pitchers worked?

From SABR member Gerald Schifman at The Hardball Times on August 10, 2016:

Clinging to a lead in the ninth inning of College World Series Game Three, Coastal Carolina’s Alex Cunningham faced Arizona’s Ryan Haug. There were two outs and runners on second and third, so a hit would have given Arizona the walk-off 5-4 victory and its second national championship in the past five years. Instead, Cunningham struck Haug out to give Coastal its first College World Series title. The whiff officially ended the NCAA Division I season, allowing all college pitchers to finally recover.

This game featured a bevy of heavily used pitchers. Coastal starter Andrew Beckwith had thrown 138 pitches in his previous start. Bobby Holmes, the first man out of Coastal’s bullpen, had thrown 47 pitches two days prior and 39 pitches five days before. On the Arizona side, starter Bobby Dalbec had worked deep playoff outings, all after hastily leaving bullpen work midway through the year. And reliever Cameron Ming worked constantly in tournament play; he made back-to-back appearances in the final two championship games to follow a 79-pitch outing just four days earlier.

If a major league manager ran his young pitchers this hard, he’d get hell from the fans and pundits who don’t want to see star prospects abused. Given that pitching through fatigue is a chief injury risk, it would be warranted.

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Originally published: August 10, 2016. Last Updated: August 10, 2016.