In the coming years we will be more and more aware of the pitch counts, workloads, and general arm health of young pitching prospects. That phenomenon as we know it now started with Washington Nationals’ ace Stephen Strasburg and, among other things, the team’s controversial decision to shut him down during a season in which they reached the playoffs. Strasburg has since been forced to have Tommy John surgery and battled more elbow troubles this past year.
Strasburg had another operation in October to remove bone chips from his elbow, so once again the Nationals will be measured in how they deploy their ace. That will start before real baseball is even under way, as the team has a plan starting with Strasburg’s spring debut. Jim Hawkins has the following report about his first start this spring on MLB.com:
Manager Matt Williams said on Monday that Strasburg will be limited to two innings, regardless of how well he performs.”
This is the time of year when it actually makes sense to place such strict limits on a starting pitcher’s work load. Hopefully doing so now will make it such that we do not have to discuss Strasburg’s health or workload later this season.