Pitch count

In baseball statistics, pitch count is the number of pitches thrown by a pitcher in a game.

Pitch counts are especially a concern for young pitchers, pitchers recovering from injury, or pitchers who have a history of injuries. The pitcher wants to keep the pitch count low because of his stamina. Often a starting pitcher will be removed from the game after 100 pitches, regardless of the actual number of innings pitched, as it is reckoned to be the maximum optimal pitch count for a starting pitcher.[1] It is unclear if the specialization and reliance on relief pitchers led to pitch counts, or if pitch counts led to greater use of relievers.[2] Pitch counts are sometimes less of a concern for veteran pitchers, who after years of conditioning are often able to pitch deeper into games. A pitcher's size, stature, athleticism, and pitching style (and/or type of pitch thrown) can also play a role in how many pitches a pitcher can throw in a single game while maintaining effectiveness and without risking injury.

Pitch count can also be used to gauge the effectiveness and efficiency of a pitcher. It is better under most circumstances for a pitcher to use the fewest pitches possible to get three outs. Pitching efficiency is typically measured by pitches per inning or pitches per plate appearance.

Opposing teams also pay attention to pitch counts, and may try to foul off as many pitches as possible (or at least any difficult-to-hit pitches) either to tire the pitcher out, or to inflate the pitch count and drive a pitcher from the game early in favor of a possibly less effective relief pitcher.

Youth limits

Little League has imposed a strict pitch count limit on pitchers. A pitcher must be removed immediately upon the current at-bat or the current half-inning ends, whichever comes first, upon reaching the pitch count per day.

Age Pitch limit
7–8 50
9–10 75
11–12 85
13–16 95
17–18 105

Once a pitcher throws 21 pitches (under 14) or 31 pitches (15–18) in a game, the pitcher must rest and not participate in pitching. Furthermore, pitchers may not be catchers if more than 40 pitches were thrown by the player.

Under 14 15–18 Days off
21–35 31–45 1
36-50 46–60 2
51–65 61–75 3
66+ 76+ 4
pitch count taker


Before pitch counts became prominent in the 1980s, a pitcher primarily "pitched until he could no longer get anyone out or the game was over."[3] As pitch counts have become more prominent, pitchers are often removed from games independent of whether or not they are tired or still pitching effectively.[4] The use of pitch counts has been influenced by agents wanting to protect their clients, and organizations wanting to protect investments in their pitchers.[5] This change has shifted the expectations of starting pitchers from pitching complete games to quality starts of six innings instead.[6]

Opponents of the pitch count have argued that the inclusion of the pitch count has hurt pitchers more than it has protected them. Critics of the pitch count argue that pitchers are "babied" and that many of the injuries that pitchers have suffered since the inclusion of the pitch count are from such treatment. Advocates who are against using the pitch count as a metric to measure pitcher performance include Minnesota Twins broadcaster/Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven; Hall of Famer, former Texas Rangers CEO/President, and current Houston Astros executive adviser Nolan Ryan; New York Mets Hall of Famer Tom Seaver; and former Florida Marlins manager Jack McKeon.[7] McKeon openly told his pitchers (and the media) that he did not keep a pitch count, and that he expected his pitchers to get into the mindset of completing what they started (i.e., for his starters to pitch a complete game). Ryan's sentiments are similar to McKeon's, declaring that pitch counts are largely frivolous.[7] San Francisco Chronicle sports writer Bruce Jenkins has suggested that a "relief" (i.e. lesser) pitcher should start the game, so that the "starting" (i.e. stronger) pitcher would play the more crucial later innings.[8]

Rany Jazayerli estimates that two thirds of young starting pitchers from 1999 on are still playing five years later, compared to one of two between 1984 and 1998, and attributes the improvement to greater emphasis on the pitch count.[9] Some argue that pitch counts do not account for easy outings for pitchers with big leads but higher pitch counts or pitchers in constant trouble in a game with lower pitch counts.[10] Others feel the count is a self-fulfilling prophecy, where a pitcher can feel great until learning of his pitch count.[11] However, author Peter Morris noted that "a lot more guys hit 10 homers a season these days", and pitchers need to throw their best stuff more often.[12] "Guys who throw 100 pitches now are working harder than guys who threw 120 pitches a generation ago."[12] Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Dennis Eckersley said hitters are "bigger, stronger, better, and they hit better. And parks are smaller now, let alone the steroid era."[13] Hitters have also become more selective (making pitchers throw more strikes) to increase their pitch count to get them out of the game earlier.[12] Former pitcher Gene Garber says umpires are calling a smaller strike zone, making it more difficult for pitchers to throw strikes.[14]

Television networks and stations only displayed pitch counts occasionally, with the Boston Red Sox's NESN and New York Yankees's YES being the first to do so within their full on-screen graphics at all times in 2010.[15] ESPN soon followed suit, and as of Opening Day 2014, the Fox Sports regional networks, along with Fox's national package also adopted full-time pitch count displays.


Since the 1960s, it has not been common for the starting pitcher to pitch a complete game. According to Baseball Reference pitchers have completed less than 30 percent of their starts every year since 1959. Comparisons with the dead-ball era pre-1920 are misleading, since the pitcher's behavior was very different.[8] Some examples of high pitch count games include a 26-inning game on May 1, 1920 where Leon Cadore of Brooklyn and Joe Oeschger of Boston pitched an estimated 345 and 319 pitches;[8] also, Nolan Ryan threw 164 in a 1989 game, aged 42.[16] Stats LLC began tracking pitch counts in 1988, and MLB keeps official data since 1999. The highest pitch count since 1990 is 172, by Tim Wakefield for the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Atlanta Braves on April 27, 1993; however, it should be known that Wakefield's primary pitch was the knuckleball, an off-speed pitch. Off-speed pitches are less strenuous on a pitcher's arm compared to a fastball. Pitch counts above 125 are increasingly rare:[16]

Season PIT>125
2011 40
2010 24
2009 26
2008 19
2007 14
2006 26
2005 31
2004 46
2003 70
2002 69
2001 74
2000 160
1999 179
1998 212
1997 141
1996 195

On June 25, 2010, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Edwin Jackson threw 149 pitches in a no-hitter. This was the highest pitch count in an MLB game since 2005.[17]

See also


  1. ^ Jazayerli, Rany (2004-03-03). "Basics: How We Measure Pitcher Usage". Baseball Prospectus. Retrieved 2017-03-06.
  2. ^ Zimniuch 2010, p.78
  3. ^ a b Carpenter, Les. "Moyer's Career Longevity Is One for the Ages". Yahoo! Sports. May 12, 2010.
  4. ^ Zimniuch 2010, pp.61–62
  5. ^ Zimniuch 2010, p.67
  6. ^ Zimniuch, Fran (2010). Fireman: The Evolution of the Closer in Baseball. Chicago: Triumph Books. pp. 58–59. ISBN 978-1-60078-312-8.
  7. ^ a b Brown, Tim. "No victor in Rays-Rangers culture clash". Yahoo! Sports. April 30, 2009.
  8. ^ a b c Jenkins, Bruce (August 27, 2008). "Let them learn to pitch and learn to finish". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-03-25.
  9. ^ Jazayerli, Rany (2012-09-12). "A National Mistake". Grantland. Retrieved September 19, 2012.
  10. ^ Zimniuch 2010, pp.63–64
  11. ^ Zimniuch 2010, p.66
  12. ^ a b c Zimniuch 2010, p.71
  13. ^ Zimniuch 2010, pp.164–5
  14. ^ Zimniuch 2010, p.75
  15. ^ "Pitch Count on Display". Baseball-fever.com. 2016-11-03. Retrieved 2017-03-06.
  16. ^ a b Passan, Jeff (27 Apr 2008). "Count on it". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 2009-03-25.
  17. ^ "What Edwin Jackson's Pitch Count Hath Wrought". Sabernomics.com. 2010-06-26. Retrieved 2017-03-06.


  • Jazayerli, Rany. 1998. "Pitcher Abuse Points: A New Way to Measure Pitcher Abuse", BaseballProspectus.com (June 19).[1]
  • Jazayerli, Rany. 1999. "Pitcher Abuse Points – One Year Later: A Look Back...and Ahead", BaseballProspectus.com (May 28).[2]
  • Jazayerli, Rany. 2001. "Rethinking Pitcher Abuse", Baseball Prospectus 2001 (Dulles, Virginia: Brassey's): 491-504.
  • Woolner, Keith, and Rany Jazayerli. 2001. "Analyzing PAP", Baseball Prospectus 2001 (Dulles, Virginia: Brassey's): 505-516.
  • Woolner, Keith. 2002. "PAP3 FAQ", BaseballProspectus.com (June 5).[3]
Addie Joss' perfect game

On October 2, 1908, Addie Joss pitched a perfect game, the fourth in Major League Baseball history, and only the second in American League history. He threw it at League Park, in Cleveland, Ohio.

Alex Young (baseball)

Alexander Edward Young (born September 9, 1993) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks of Major League Baseball (MLB) .

Baseball statistics

Baseball statistics play an important role in evaluating the progress of a player or team.

Since the flow of a baseball game has natural breaks to it, and normally players act individually rather than performing in clusters, the sport lends itself to easy record-keeping and statistics. Statistics have been kept for professional baseball since the creation of the National League and American League, now part of Major League Baseball.

Many statistics are also available from outside Major League Baseball, from leagues such as the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players and the Negro Leagues, although the consistency of whether these records were kept, of the standards with respect to which they were calculated, and of their accuracy has varied.

Basic pitch count estimator

In baseball statistics, the basic pitch count estimator is a statistic used to estimate the number of pitches thrown by a pitcher where there is no pitch count data available. The formula was first derived by Tom Tango. The formula is , where PA refers to the number of plate appearances against the pitcher, SO to strikeouts and BB to base on balls.

In 2007 the formula has been updated by Brian Yonushonis. This newer formula that he uses is: [citation needed]

Batters faced (baseball)

In baseball statistics, Batters Faced (BF), also known as Total Batters Faced (TBF), is the number of batters who made a plate appearance before the pitcher in a game or in a season.

For a given game, the number of plate appearances for an offense is 3×(Innings) + (Runs scored) + (Runners left on base).

Batting order (baseball)

In baseball, the batting order or batting lineup is the sequence in which the members of the offense take their turns in batting against the pitcher. The batting order is the main component of a team's offensive strategy. In Major League Baseball, the batting order is set by the manager, who before the game begins must present the home plate umpire with two copies of his team's lineup card, a card on which a team's starting batting order is recorded. The home plate umpire keeps one copy of the lineup card of each team, and gives the second copy to the opposing manager. Once the home plate umpire gives the lineup cards to the opposing managers, the batting lineup is final and a manager can only make changes under the Official Baseball Rules governing substitutions. If a team bats out of order, it is a violation of baseball's rules and subject to penalty.

According to The Dickson Baseball Dictionary, a team has "batted around" when each of the nine batters in the team's lineup has made a plate appearance, and the first batter is coming up again during a single inning. Dictionary.com, however, defines "bat around" as "to have every player in the lineup take a turn at bat during a single inning." It is not an official statistic. Opinions differ as to whether nine batters must get an at-bat, or if the opening batter must bat again for "batting around" to have occurred.In modern American baseball, some batting positions have nicknames: "leadoff" for first, "cleanup" for fourth, and "last" for ninth. Others are known by the ordinal numbers or the term #-hole (3rd place hitter would be 3-hole). In similar fashion, the third, fourth, and fifth batters are often collectively referred to as the "heart" or "meat" of the batting order, while the seventh, eighth, and ninth batters are called the "bottom of the lineup," a designation generally referring both to their hitting position and to their typical lack of offensive prowess.At the start of each inning, the batting order resumes where it left off in the previous inning, rather than resetting to start with the #1 hitter again. If the current batter has not finished his at-bat, by either putting a ball in play or being struck-out, and another baserunner becomes a third out, such as being picked-off or caught stealing, the current batter will lead off the next inning, with the pitch count reset to 0-0. While this ensures that the players all bat roughly the same number of times, the game will almost always end before the last cycle is complete, so that the #1 hitter (for example) almost always has one plate appearance more than the #9 hitter, which is a significant enough difference to affect tactical decisions. This is not a perfect correlation to each batter's official count of "at-bats," as a sacrifice (bunt or fly) that advances a runner, or a walk (base on balls or hit by pitch) is not recorded as an "at-bat" as these are largely out of the batter's control, and does not hurt his batting average (base hits per at-bats.)


"Beanball" is a colloquialism used in baseball, for a ball thrown at an opposing player with the intention of striking them such as to cause harm, often connoting a throw at the player's head (or "bean" in old-fashioned slang). A pitcher who throws beanballs often is known as a "headhunter". The term may be applied to any sport in which a player on one team regularly attempts to throw a ball toward the general vicinity of a player of the opposite team, but is typically expected not to hit that player with the ball. In cricket, the equivalent term is "beamer". Some people use the term, beaner, though that usage is discouraged because of the negative connotations associated with that usage.

Domingo Germán

Domingo Germán Polanco (born August 4, 1992) (her-MAHN) is a Dominican professional baseball pitcher for the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball (MLB). He made his MLB debut in 2017.

Leadoff hitter

In baseball, a leadoff hitter is a batter who bats first in the lineup. It can also refer to any batter who bats first in an inning.

List of Washington Nationals team records

The Washington Nationals are a United States Major League Baseball franchise based in Washington, D.C.

Little League Baseball

Little League Baseball and Softball (officially, Little League Baseball Inc) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania, United States, that organizes local youth baseball and softball leagues throughout the United States and the rest of the world.

Founded by Carl Stotz in 1939 as a three-team league in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and formally incorporated on October 10, 1950, Little League Baseball encourages local volunteers to organize and operate Little League programs that are annually chartered through Little League International. Each league can structure itself to best serve the children in the area in which the league operates. Several specific divisions of Little League baseball and softball are available to children ages 4 to 16. The organization holds a congressional charter under Title 36 of the United States Code.The organization's administrative office is located in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The first Little League Baseball World Series was played in Williamsport in 1947. The Little League International Complex hosts the annual Little League Baseball World Series at Howard J. Lamade Stadium and Little League Volunteer Stadium, and is also the site of the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum, which provides a history of Little League Baseball and Softball through interactive exhibits for children. Many Major League Baseball (MLB) players played in Little League.

Pitch quantification

Pitch quantification is the attempt to describe the quality of a pitch using a single numeric value based on quantifiable aspects of an individual baseball pitch. There are two main kinds of pitch quantification. The first is outcome oriented. This means that the result of a given pitch (i.e., walk, out, home run, etc.) is a component used to calculate the overall numeric value that describes the quality of the pitch. The other kind of pitch quantification does not consider the outcome of a pitch when calculating quality. Rather, it is batter independent. Its quality can be assessed without regard to what the batter does with the pitch.

In 2006, PITCHf/x cameras were installed in every MLB stadium. These cameras are able to track “velocity, movement, release point, spin, and pitch location” on every pitch thrown. When this data was released to the public, many different attempts at pitch quantification began appearing. In 2010, Nick Steiner explained that pitchers have relatively very little control over their pitches due to the fact that so many other factors affect a pitch, such as the batter, the umpire, the defense, and the environment. The task of baseball statistics attempting to quantify a pitch is to isolate the performance of the pitcher from the factors out of his control. Over the years, many different baseball statisticians have attempted to create a statistic that does this.


A scoreboard is a large board for publicly displaying the score in a game. Most levels of sport from high school and above use at least one scoreboard for keeping score, measuring time, and displaying statistics. Scoreboards in the past used a mechanical clock and numeral cards to display the score. When a point was made, a person would put the appropriate digits on a hook. Most modern scoreboards use electromechanical or electronic means of displaying the score. In these, digits are often composed of large dot-matrix or seven-segment displays made of incandescent bulbs, light-emitting diodes, or electromechanical flip segments. An official or neutral person will operate the scoreboard, using a control panel.

Shutouts in baseball

In Major League Baseball, a shutout (denoted statistically as ShO or SHO) refers to the act by which a single pitcher pitches a complete game and does not allow the opposing team to score a run. If two or more pitchers combine to complete this act, no pitcher is awarded a shutout, although the team itself can be said to have "shut out" the opposing team.

The ultimate single achievement among pitchers is a perfect game, which has been accomplished 23 times in over 135 years, most recently by Félix Hernández of the Seattle Mariners on August 15, 2012. By definition, a perfect game is counted as a shutout. A no-hitter completed by one pitcher is also a shutout unless the opposing team manages to score through a series of errors, base on balls, catcher's interferences, dropped third strikes, or hit batsmen. The all-time career leader in shutouts is Walter Johnson, who pitched for the Washington Senators from 1907–1927. He accumulated 110 shutouts, which is 20 more than the second place leader, Pete Alexander. The most shutouts recorded in one season was 16, which was a feat accomplished by both Pete Alexander (1916) and George Bradley (1876). These records are considered among the most secure records in baseball, because pitchers today rarely earn more than one or two shutouts per season with a heavy emphasis on pitch count and relief pitching. Complete games themselves have also become rare among starting pitchers.

The current leader among active players for career shutouts is Clayton Kershaw, who has thrown 15.

Starting pitcher

In baseball (hardball or softball), a starting pitcher or starter is the first pitcher in the game for each team. A pitcher is credited with a game started if they throw the first pitch to the opponent's first batter of a game. Starting pitchers are expected to pitch for a significant portion of the game, although their ability to do this depends on many factors, including effectiveness, stamina, health, and strategy.

A starting pitcher in professional baseball usually rests three, four, or five days after pitching a game before pitching another. Therefore, most professional baseball teams have four, five or six starting pitchers on their rosters. These pitchers, and the sequence in which they pitch, is known as the rotation. In modern baseball, a five-man rotation is most common.In contrast, a pitcher who enters the game after the first pitch of the game is a relief pitcher. Ocassionally, an opening pitcher is used for only a few innings, and is replaced by a long reliever or a pitcher who would typically be a starting pitcher.

Steve Busby

Steven Lee "Buzz" Busby (born September 29, 1949) is a former starting pitcher in Major League Baseball who played his entire career for the Kansas City Royals. He batted and threw right-handed.

Switch hitter

In baseball, a switch hitter is a player who bats both right-handed and left-handed, usually right-handed against left-handed pitchers and left-handed against right-handed pitchers.

Tom Phoebus

Thomas Harold Phoebus (born April 7, 1942) is an American former Major League Baseball pitcher with the Baltimore Orioles, San Diego Padres and the Chicago Cubs between 1966 and 1972. He batted and threw right-handed.

Baseball concepts
Game process
Base running

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