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Today's Pitchers

Postby Yoda » Sat May 05, 2007 3:10 pm

Just 30 years ago pitchers were logging 300 IP a year. Today you are considered a work horse if you log 200 IP a year.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/leade ... gues.shtml

Plus it seems like more and more pitchers go down than I can remember. What changes could have caused this?
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Postby Sid Bream's Slide » Sat May 05, 2007 3:20 pm

I'm not sure who wrote this or where I got it from, but I thought that it was interesting.

Since 1880, Baseball has been a mixture of art and science, mostly art. Baseball is steeped in tradition and ritual. Most coaches naturally re-teach and regurgitate what they were taught. Some of those traditions, rituals, myths, and sacred cows are very good and make Baseball special. Some, however, have inhibited Baseball’s natural evolution. The late 1970’s to 2000 were particularly harmful to the development of arms and baseball pitching athletes.

For example, before 1971, the "Disabled List," as we know it today, didn't even exist. Complete games were common place. Injuries, as well as access to orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists, were rare.

Pitch counts were not recorded prior to 1971. Prior to 1975, pitchers were not cloned nor their movements choreographed. They were not forced to comply with some theoretical model or "ideal." Their deliveries were not "cookie cut" nor their bodies "posed" into certain specific positions. After 1975, cloning and choreographing the pitching delivery became more and more prevalent. Today, it is standard operating procedure.

Instead, prior to 1975, pitching athletes threw with freedom and energy and learned by trial and error. Thousands of trials…hundreds of errors. Lots of natural learning.

Prior to 1971, pitchers REGULARLY threw long toss without limits on time or distance. They simply listened to their arm for guidance, not pseudo scientists, self-proclaimed experts, or people simply trying to sound like the smartest guy in the room/dugout.

They were not limited by the typical 5 minutes at 90 feet, 5 minutes at 120 feet, and 5 minutes at 150 feet. They were not told to only throw as far as they could do so "perfectly." Again, they threw with freedom and individuality; they routinely pushed the envelope, and they simply listened to their arm for direction.

Prior to 1975, pitchers played "burn out," threw batting practice between starts, and simply threw the baseball a lot more than they ever pitched a baseball in game time competition. Consequently, their arms were more durable.
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Postby Yoda » Sat May 05, 2007 3:24 pm

Sid Bream's Slide wrote:I'm not sure who wrote this or where I got it from, but I thought that it was interesting.

Since 1880, Baseball has been a mixture of art and science, mostly art. Baseball is steeped in tradition and ritual. Most coaches naturally re-teach and regurgitate what they were taught. Some of those traditions, rituals, myths, and sacred cows are very good and make Baseball special. Some, however, have inhibited Baseball’s natural evolution. The late 1970’s to 2000 were particularly harmful to the development of arms and baseball pitching athletes.

For example, before 1971, the "Disabled List," as we know it today, didn't even exist. Complete games were common place. Injuries, as well as access to orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists, were rare.

Pitch counts were not recorded prior to 1971. Prior to 1975, pitchers were not cloned nor their movements choreographed. They were not forced to comply with some theoretical model or "ideal." Their deliveries were not "cookie cut" nor their bodies "posed" into certain specific positions. After 1975, cloning and choreographing the pitching delivery became more and more prevalent. Today, it is standard operating procedure.

Instead, prior to 1975, pitching athletes threw with freedom and energy and learned by trial and error. Thousands of trials…hundreds of errors. Lots of natural learning.

Prior to 1971, pitchers REGULARLY threw long toss without limits on time or distance. They simply listened to their arm for guidance, not pseudo scientists, self-proclaimed experts, or people simply trying to sound like the smartest guy in the room/dugout.

They were not limited by the typical 5 minutes at 90 feet, 5 minutes at 120 feet, and 5 minutes at 150 feet. They were not told to only throw as far as they could do so "perfectly." Again, they threw with freedom and individuality; they routinely pushed the envelope, and they simply listened to their arm for direction.

Prior to 1975, pitchers played "burn out," threw batting practice between starts, and simply threw the baseball a lot more than they ever pitched a baseball in game time competition. Consequently, their arms were more durable.


Thanks. I wonder how many pitchers really burned out too early though. We only hear about the ones who were successful so we are obviously biased.
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Re: Today's Pitchers

Postby TB13 » Sat May 05, 2007 3:50 pm

Yoda wrote:Plus it seems like more and more pitchers go down than I can remember. What changes could have caused this?

Pitch counts and 5 man rotations. Pitchers were never concerned with pitch counts. They routinely threw more. Nowadays, everyone is so concerned about the magical 100 pitch mark, that pitchers get pulled early. This starts way before the majors. As such, pitchers do not build up the proper arm strength.

Plus, with the advent of the 5 man rotation, as opposed to the 4, less and less innings are being throw. Personally, I thik that eventually, there will be a team that will try the 4 man rotation again. Some #5 starters are just not worth it to trot out.
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Postby bleach168 » Sat May 05, 2007 3:57 pm

Seems to me that today's pitchers tend to overthrow their pitches. They know they are on a 100 pitch count so they give maximum effort for those 100 pitches resulting in just as many injuries if not more.

Livian Hernandez is one of the few remaining old school pitchers.
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Postby HOOTIE » Sun May 06, 2007 12:02 pm

It's really apples and oranges. Innings is very misleading. Games in 1970 averaged around 115 pitches per 9 innings. Now we are at a all time high of 150+ pitches per 9 innings. That's a big difference.

Second, look at the careers of alot of those guys.

Koufax was done at 31, and in reality, had only 5 years of 200+ innings.

Messersmith was done at 31.
Marichal at 36.
Mclain at 28.
Chance at 29.
Hunter at 33.
Steib at 33.
RJones at 33.
Valenzuela, Gooden, McDowell never threw 200 innings after age 29.

Alot of pitchers flamed out early around 30, or early 30's. Today pitchers pitch ages 35+ alot. Pitchers arms wren't any better back then.
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Postby Yoda » Sun May 06, 2007 12:06 pm

HOOTIE wrote:It's really apples and oranges. Innings is very misleading. Games in 1970 averaged around 115 pitches per 9 innings. Now we are at a all time high of 150+ pitches per 9 innings. That's a big difference.

Second, look at the careers of alot of those guys.

Koufax was done at 31, and in reality, had only 5 years of 200+ innings.

Messersmith was done at 31.
Marichal at 36.
Mclain at 28.
Chance at 29.
Hunter at 33.
Steib at 33.
RJones at 33.
Valenzuela, Gooden, McDowell never threw 200 innings after age 29.

Alot of pitchers flamed out early around 30, or early 30's. Today pitchers pitch ages 35+ alot. Pitchers arms wren't any better back then.


Yeah, I don't think there were a lot of guys that were pitching in their 40s like we have now. I guess guys like Maddux, RJ, Clemens, Glavine are the exceptions.
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Postby Coppermine » Sun May 06, 2007 12:07 pm

Olney gave his top three "horses" of all time last night. Number one was, understandably, Cy Young:

511 Career Wins
749 Career Complete Games
400 Innings Plus - 5 years
300 Innings Plus - 16 years
2.63 Career ERA

It was definitely a different time then, but you have to give this guy credit pitching like that in an era before personal trainers, luxury travel arrangements, cortisone shots, Tommy John surgery and, dare I say, performance enhancing drugs.
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Postby Yoda » Sun May 06, 2007 12:14 pm

Coppermine wrote:Olney gave his top three "horses" of all time last night. Number one was, understandably, Cy Young:

511 Career Wins
749 Career Complete Games
400 Innings Plus - 5 years
300 Innings Plus - 16 years
2.63 Career ERA

It was definitely a different time then, but you have to give this guy credit pitching like that in an era before personal trainers, luxury travel arrangements, cortisone shots, Tommy John surgery and, dare I say, performance enhancing drugs.


How do you know he didn't use performance enhancing drugs though? I don't think anyone knows for sure but yeah, those are some ridiculous numbers he put up.
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Postby brock middlebrook » Sun May 06, 2007 12:16 pm

bleach168 wrote:Seems to me that today's pitchers tend to overthrow their pitches. They know they are on a 100 pitch count so they give maximum effort for those 100 pitches resulting in just as many injuries if not more.

Livian Hernandez is one of the few remaining old school pitchers.


I believe this is likely true, as well. It seems, in an era when even the weakest hitters can really hurt you, and with the players in this era stronger than at any time in my lifetime (probably ever), the guys today try to make every pitch so perfectly unhittable.

Simply put, I think the game today for pitchers is harder so they are pushing harder.
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