For the second year in a row, American Legion Baseball has been deemed fully Pitch Smart compliant, per a release from Major League Baseball and USA Baseball on Jan. 3.
“Pitch Smart is a joint initiative between Major League Baseball and USA Baseball that provides safe pitching practices to help reduce the risk of arm injuries in amateur players,” the release said.
"The long-term development and health of amateur players continues to be a priority for Major League Baseball," said Chris Marinak, Executive Vice President, Strategy, Technology & Innovation, Major League Baseball. "We continue to be encouraged by the ongoing proliferation of the Pitch Smart program, and see it as a core component for every amateur organization's rule book."
Full compliance requires enforcing pitch counts and rest periods, as suggested by the panel of experts.
Despite being fully Pitch Smart compliant in 2017, American Legion Baseball still improved its pitch count rule ahead of 2018.
“The overwhelming majority of our pitchers are 18 or younger, so we wanted to get more in line with the pitch count suggestions for that age group,” Gary Stone, chairman of the Baseball Committee, said when the rule was changed. “We also added more flexibility for coaches to use pitchers by adjusting the pitch count for days of rest.”
Pitchers will have a daily maximum of 105 pitches per day, down from 120.
Required rest will be as follows:
1-30 pitches: 0 days
31-45 pitches: 1 day
46-60 pitches: 2 days
61-80 pitches: 3 days
81+ pitches: 4 days
Pitchers may only make two appearances in any three consecutive days. Players will be charged with two appearances if they leave the pitching position and return as a pitcher in the same game.