A few days ago it came to my attention that Bronson Arroyo, of the Cincinnati Reds, has not thrown 100 pitches or more in a game since September 14, 2012. This stretch totals 11 starts (Last 3 starts of 2012, first eight starts of 2013).
I personally dislike how pitchers are coddled in today’s game, and believe they should be able to throw a lot more innings and pitches. If a pitcher has not shown any major injury concerns and has shown durable they should be able to throw 120-130 pitches if need be. Heck, Baseball-Reference does not even have the pitch count of Nolan Ryan’s s game log until 1988! That season, my math says Ryan threw 108.6 pitches per game.
That being said, the mythical “100 pitch count” has become more than just an arbitrary number. It has become the standard. A standard, which promotes pitchers just pitching through the sixth inning many times – depending on pitch efficiency and batter patience.
But I doubt even the people who believe that the 100 pitch count is a good thing for Major League Baseball see much of a difference between a pitcher throwing 97 and 100 pitches on a given start; just in terms of the number itself. The only difference is how the given pitcher executes those three extra pitches. *Side note: I am in favor of some sort of pitch count for kids playing Little League.*
I make the point of 97 vs. 100 pitches because while I relate it all back to Arroyo, he has come close to throwing 100 pitches a couple times. It is also the National League he is pitching in, so pinch hitting and game scenarios could lead him to exiting a game where an American League pitcher would not.
While I do not believe in the “100 pitch count” the point being made did spark my curiosity. It led me into wanting to look further into what Arroyo has been doing; which I will do now:
Bronson Arroyo’s average pitch count per game with Cincinnati:
- 2006: 109.9 (35g, 240.2ip)
- 2007: 100.8 (34g, 210.2ip)
- 2008: 101.0 (34g, 200.0ip)
- 2009: 103.2 (33g, 220.1ip)
- 2010: 98.7 (33g, 215.2ip)
- 2011: 103.2 (32g, 199.0ip)
- 2012: 92.4 (32g, 202.0ip)
- 2013: 89.6 (8g, 52.2ip)
There has definitely been a drop off in terms of pitches thrown per start by Arroyo. Keep in mind Arroyo was around the age where many players are hitting their peak, 29, to start the 2006 season. He has started the 2013 season at age 36.
Stat Dump Time….
Bronson Arroyo has pitched 1,541,9 innings and thrown 25,165 pitches since the start of 2006. Both rank sixth in the MLB over that time span. Arroyo’s career total of 2,129.3 innings pitched ranks 12 among active pitchers.
Arroyo has made the All-Star game once, 2006.
Arroyo has a career .971 fielding percentage. League average is .956 for pitchers since the start of Arroyo’s career through today.
Arroyo has a career .129 batting average with 6 home runs and 29 RBI. He has grounded into 7 double plays over his career and stole 1 base.
Arroyo has a 1-0 record with a 4.60 ERA in postseason play over a career 29.1 innings pitched. Most of the struggle was with Boston, because he has only allowed 1 earned run in 12.1 innings, in 2 postseason starts with Cincinnati.
Arroyo has a career 4.22 ERA while winnings 127 games and losing 119. He has pitched 13 career complete games, 5 being shutouts.
He has led or tied for the league lead in the following categories, in the following seasons:
- 2004: 20 batters hit.
- 2006: 35 starts, 240.2 innings pitched.
- 2008: 34 starts.
- 2009: 2 shutouts.
- 2011: 112 Earned Runs and 46 home runs allowed.
Arroyo has a career 71.9 percent left on base and a 23.4 total Fangraphs WAR. His best Fangraphs WAR in one season was 4.1 in 2006.
Arroyo has intentionally walked 56 batters in his career, the most being 7 in 2006. He has also hit a 94 career batters, 21.2 percent of those being his 20 hit batters in 2004. He has balked 4 times in his career and thrown 38 wild pitches.
Arroyo has thrown a career first pitch 62.7 percent of the time. He has a career 7.4 swinging strike percentage.
Source: Fangraphs & Baseball-Reference. Stats as of Wed. May 15, 2013 5:58 AM ET