I've been frequenting the BYB commenting boards again and I've seen a lot of talk about pitch counts and the ever lasting debate are they necessary and when should workloads increase? Well, since I have a fascination with pitching I thought I'd educate myself and share.
The best and most descriptive article on the subject I found at the Hardball Times.
For those with out time to read through the article I'll go for a cliffnotes version.
- doing some quick averages in my head modern era greats (Maddux, Schilling, Martinez, Clemens) probably averaged around 45-50,000 pitches for their careers. Past greats (Ryan, Perry, Lolich, Gibson) threw about 60-70,000 pitches for their careers. That's a 15-20,000 pitch difference.
- Human Physiology doesn't change enough within a few years to make workload changes necessary. Pitchers today are just conditioned more to throw fewer pitches.
- Because the very best pitchers no longer apply their trade for as long of a period of time, inferior pitchers take over and can be a partial explanation of the offensive boom that has occurred in the modern era.
- Pitchers get hurt. They did back then and they still do now. The rate of injury hasn't changed that much despite the application of pitch counts and five man rotations.
I can say that I honestly agree with the points made. Pitchers today aren't weaker or physiologically different from their predecessors, they are just conditioned differently. While todays system won't likely change, I will say that it's a unnecessary system accept at a youth age where the ASMI has concluded that it will reduce arm and shoulder injury amongst youth.