MLB franchises do everything they can to try to protect their top pitching prospects. The Washington Nationals did it with an innings cap on Stephen Strasburg and the New York Mets were planning to do the same with their ace, Matt Harvey. But sometimes it doesn’t work, and players like Harvey suffer a torn ulnar collateral ligament anyway.
Mets pitching legend Tom Seaver believes he has a solution to the issue of so many young pitchers blowing out their arms — let them pitch more.
“Naturally, I felt terrible for (Harvey),” Seaver said, via the NY Daily News. “He’s got such a bright future. But at the same time, all I could think of was how it just goes to show how all this babying of pitchers — pitch counts and innings limits — is a bunch of nonsense. You can’t predict these things, and there’s really not a whole lot you can do to prevent them other than refining your mechanics as (’60s and ’70s Mets pitching coach) Rube (Walker) did with us. But one way I know doesn’t do anything to prevent them is babying these kids like they do.”
Seaver pointed out how the best pitchers of the 60s and 70s regularly logged 250-plus innings throughout the course of a season. Braves legend Warren Spahn threw 260 innings in 1963 when he was 42 years old.