The Minor League Pitch Count Absurdity Reaches a New No-No Level

After eight full innings on Wednesday night July 22, the New York Yankee Low-A Charleston RiverDogs’ affiliate was crusing along, winning 4-0. They would then tack on four more runs in the top of the 9th, pulling away for an 8-0 lead.

RiverDogs starting pitcher, RH Cory Arbiso had a no-hitter going, allowing two walks while stiking out four. At this point the River Dog manager replaced Arbiso with a relief pitcher, thereby denying him a chance at the no-hitter.

That is absolutely ridiculous!  In the story linked above, the coaches had a pitch count of 80 for Arbiso, who was making a spot start. Arbiso allowed the two walks back to back in the second and a batter reached on an error leading off the 5th. Otherwise it was 3 up and 3 down.

Although his exact pitch count after 8 innings was not mentioned, Arbiso did face 26 hitters. Since the article mentioned a lot of ground ball outs and first pitch strikes, etc, we can assume that Arbiso had at the most 80 pitches.

Since Arbiso was working quickly, throwing strikes and getting ahead of the hitter, would 10 more pitches hurt this guy? While primarily a reliever this season, Arbiso was a starter for Cal -State Fullerton in college and has started four games this season.

Why not go batter by batter in the 9th inning? If Arbiso gives up a hit to either of the first two guys, then pull him. Since the big lead was, combined with Arbiso’s excellent control (only 4 walks in 55 IP this year), he would unlikely issue another free pass and the precious pitch count would remain low.

Plus, Arbiso is not exactly a top prospect in the current Yankee landscape. As a 22nd round draft pick, Arbiso will have to earn his way up the hierarchy. Not just with this one start this season but well-above average performances over the next several years. The current pecking order above him is vast, and down the road it is unlikely he will pitch in the major leagues for the Yankees.

Arbiso should have been left in to try and get the no-hitter. It could have been the highlight of his pro career.

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