The Ohio High School Athletic Association made a significant rule change this past off-season, in hopes to protect the pitchers. Effective as of the start of the 2017 HS baseball season, pitchers are no longer allowed to throw more than 125 pitches in a game (they are allowed to exceed the number if the 125th pitch comes during the middle of an at-bat. In that case the pitcher can finish pitching to the batter and then be taken out). Pitchers who throw 31-50 pitches must rest at least one day before pitching. Pitchers who throw 51-75 pitches must rest two days and pitchers who throw 75 or more pitches must rest three days before they are allowed to pitch again.
While I applaud the OHSAA for making this decision, it doesn't go far enough. Before I get to what I disagree with, allow me to share where i believe the OHSAA got it right. I love, love, LOVE the days of rest chart that the OHSAA came up with. Bravo to those in charge!!
Here's where I disagree. First and foremost, the pitch count should have been 105 instead of 125. I have learned in my journey through professional baseball that the ideal number of pitchers a pitcher should throw per inning is thirteen to fifteen. Based on a seven inning game, the maximum number of pitches thrown should be 105. Here's the other major problem I have with this rule. The OHSAA didn't address an even bigger issue, that's pitches thrown in an inning. When I was in the Pirates organization, they had a rule that forced every minor league manager to take out any pitcher that threw thirty or more pitches in an inning (The pitcher was allowed to finish an at-bat if the 30th pitch was thrown in the middle of an at-bat). These are 15-18 year old kids that are pitching, the key word is kids. If taking a young MAN out of the game for throwing thirty pitches in an inning makes sense (and believe me, it makes COMPLETE sense), then it makes EVEN MORE sense to take a teenager out of the game if he throws thirty pitches in an inning.
I believe the OHSAA is on the right track, but more work needs to be done with the rule, as well as getting all of the coaches throughout the state to adhere to this mandate. After all, the pitchers health is far more important than wins.