Friday, March 29, 2013

Japanese teenager throws 232 pitches in tournament game

A 16-year old Japenese pitcher is probably still recovering after tossing a whopping 232 pitches during a national invitational tournament game Tuesday.

Tomohiro Anraku, a right-handed sophomore in high school, was pushed to the limit during his team's 4-3 extra-inning win. Anraku pitched all 13 innings and allowed 10 hits, five walks, and struck out 13.

Anraku isn't your average amateur baseball player. No, scouts are salivating over his incredible potential. His fastball ranged from 88-94 MPH over the course of the game and he also mixed in a sharp breaking ball from time-to-time. Additionally, he has drawn comparisons to current big league pitcher Yu Darvish and Daisuke Matsuzaka.

But the fact that he threw 232 pitches in a matter of hours isn't sitting too well with medical specialists. Especially not here in the United States, where it's become common practice to monitor pitch count and inning totals of young hurlers.
Some are calling his 232-pitch game outright abuse by his coach. Other scouts aren’t convinced that the single-game pitch total itself amounts to abusive usage. As another international scout pointed out, “It’s more concerning if he hasn’t thrown that much in the past and all of a sudden started increasing his workload drastically or did not give his arm enough rest in between his outings.”  
His velocity dipped to 86-89 mph late in the game, he started to rely more on his offspeed pitches as his fastball diminished and he looked noticeably fatigued. Believers in high pitch counts argue that pitching tired teaches a player to compete without his best stuff and learn to make adjustments. Critics think it’s an arm-shredding practice that sends kids to the operating table.
Anraku is expected to finish out the next two years pitching for his school before becoming a first round draft pick in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball. Then, one day, MLB teams are hoping he might be able to pitch for them. This is assuming Anraku doesn't burn his arm out, though.

Via Baseball America

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