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Thoughts on Pitcher Abuse in College

I’ve been inspired to write down some thoughts on pitcher abuse in college programs after a response to a comment I made on Minor League Ball about the fact that Kyle Gibson was abused at Mizzou. Here’s some thoughts:

Kyle Gibson, Missouri

Starting with a February 20 start, here’s his pitch counts and innings:

92/6 innings
109/7
114/8
124/9
117/9
45/2 (7 runs on 7 hits)
35/1 (3 runs on 4 hits)
118/9
116/9
132/9
114/6.2
124/8
126/8
15/1 (getting work in after layoff)
98/6
102/8 (dead arm game vs. Monmouth)

Take out the 15 pitch outing for work. That’s 104.4 pitches per start, including the bad 2 start stretch. 114.3 if you take those out. 14.82 pitches per inning if you take out the 15 pitch outing. Let’s stretch all those numbers out to a 33 start season for reference, taking out the 1 inning outing and looking at the other 15 starts:

232.467 innings pitched
3445.2 pitches thrown

That would have put him 9th in baseball for total pitches thrown on the 2008 leaderboard. At 21 years old.

Now, I know I’m going to get the argument that he only starts once a week. Ok, let’s say then that he pitched for 3 months, which is half a season in MLB. So we’ll bring down the multiplier a little, to 2 instead of 2.2 Here’s the totals:

211.1 innings pitched
3132 pitched thrown

Now we’re putting him in 40th for pitches thrown, 4 pitches behind Derek Lowe. At the age of 21. As one of the top draft prospects in all of baseball. And it obviously has had an effect on his arm.

Alex White, North Carolina

Starting with a February 20 start, here’s his pitch counts and innings:

90/5
100/6.1
108/6
108/6
112/7
105/7.1
121/8
132/8.1
121/9
108/6.2
110/6
121/7
44/2.1 (8 runs on 6 hits)
104/4.2

That’s 106 pitches per start. 16.6 pitches per inning. Let’s stretch all those numbers out to a 33 start season for reference:

211.357 innings pitched
3498 pitches thrown

That would have put him 9th in baseball for total pitches thrown on the 2008 leaderboard. At 21 years old.

Let’s say then that he pitched for 3 months, which is half a season in MLB. So we’ll bring down the multiplier a little, to 2 instead of 33/14. Here’s the totals:

179.3 innings pitched
2968 pitches thrown

Now we’re putting him in 61st for pitches thrown, 30 pitches behind Ian Snell. At the age of 21.

James Paxton, Kentucky

Starting with a February 20 start, here’s his pitch counts and innings:

78/5.2
97/6
102/5.2
108/6
121/6.2
69/2 (9 runs on 10 hits)
89/5
116/6
111/7
119/7
132/8
122/8
93/5.1

That’s 104.4 pitches per start. 17.3 pitches per inning. Let’s stretch all those numbers out to a 33 start season for reference:

198.846 innings pitched
3444.692 pitches thrown

That would have put him 9th in baseball for total pitches thrown on the 2008 leaderboard. At 21 years old.

Let’s say then that he pitched for 3 months, which is half a season in MLB. So we’ll bring down the multiplier a little, to 2 instead of 33/13. Here’s the totals:

156.67 innings pitched
2714 pitches thrown

Now we’re putting him in 82nd for pitches thrown, 9 pitches behind Dave Bush. At the age of 21.

All in all, you can see that these workloads are all quite bad, and while they’re all horrible when used in a 33 start reference frame, they’re still quite bad when drawn against a season’s length. Kyle Gibson’s workload takes the cake. In terms of raw pitch count per game, Alex White is the winner. But he didn’t consistently go up as high as Gibson did. It took White five starts to reach the level Gibson was at in his second start, and Gibson’s two bad games help his raw numbers. All in all, college coaches misuse their starters, especially their stud Friday starters, and Gibson has been the recipient of some bad decision-making.

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June 6, 2009 - Posted by | Random Thoughts | , ,

3 Comments »

  1. […] Andy Seiler had a blog post up prior to this news breaking, detailing highly regarded college pitchers with heavy workloads, and the first guy he looks at is…Gibson. […]

    Pingback by Kyle Gibson with a stress fracture | June 6, 2009 | Reply

  2. […] Thoughts on Pitcher Abuse in College ” Andy Seiler’s MLB Draft Blog […]

    Pingback by Game 56 Open Thread - Royals (24-31) at Blue Jays (31-27) | June 7, 2009 | Reply

  3. Awesome post, I’ve been really annoyed with this too.

    Comment by Smith | December 22, 2009 | Reply


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