Japanese Set Pitch Limits on High Schoolers

The Nigata Prefectoral High School Baseball Federation will institute the first pitch limits in Japanese High School Baseball. A pitcher may not start another inning if he has thrown more that 100 pitches. It is still unclear whether he can pitch the next day but it is a start. Gone will be the tournaments in which a pitcher throws 881 pitches in six games, such as Kosei Yoshida did last year. Depending on the rule he may now be limited to 600 pitches unless they also have provisions that require a couple days rest between outings.

Tomohiro Anraku threw 232 pitches in a 13 inning game at Koshien back in 2013. He three 772 pitches in five games over a nine day period before tiring in the final and losing 17-1. Daisuke Matsuzaka threw 767 pitches in six games. He at least had a successful career before his elbow exploded. Anraku had a 98 mile per hour fastball as a 16 year old in high school. He now pitches for the Rakuten Golden Eagles, but in four years in the NPB he has not pitched more than 84 innings or appeared in more than 15 games, with shoulder injuries limiting his effectiveness.

Of course, major league baseball has established pitch counts, but that has not prevented pitchers from elbow and shoulder issues. Time will tell if this move by Japan becomes effective. One thing it will do is force high school managers to find more pitchers to diversify their rotation, which in the long run could benefit Japan, giving them more pitchers.

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