February 5, 2020
A new pact further solidifies the West Coast League’s commitment to safe pitching practices. The WCL has been approved at full compliance level by Pitch Smart for the 2020 season. The Pitch Smart program is a joint initiative between Major League Baseball and USA Baseball that provides guidelines and best pitching practices to help reduce the risk of arm injuries in players.
“Our teams were already hyper-focused on keeping their pitchers healthy, but this new partnership with USA Baseball adds an extra layer of guidance and accountability,” said WCL Commissioner Rob Neyer, “and I’m thrilled by the support I’m seeing from around the league.”
“Pitch Smart and its educational efforts continue to be a major initiative for USA Baseball as we continue our governance within the amateur game,” said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball’s Executive Director/CEO. “The West Coast League’s support and implementation of this program, and its commitment to safeguard the overall health and safety of top players in college baseball, is paramount to the continued development of our athletes and their future careers.”
Full Pitch Smart compliance is the highest level of commitment to the program. This includes following Pitch Smart guidelines pertaining to pitch counts and rest periods along with supporting Pitch Smart educational efforts.
“Certifying with Pitch Smart is a no-brainer — we’re all in this to develop players, to give them opportunities in a competitive way but to do it in a responsible manner,” said Jim Swanson, GM/Managing Partner of the Victoria HarbourCats, who have been developing players since 2013 when they joined the WCL.
“I’m assuming most people have read ‘The Arm’ by now — pitching, that skill, is the most valuable skill in all of sports, the hardest thing to scout and develop. So much of it is an inexact science still, but being aware of usage and workload is important for our coaches, and for college programs, in helping players reach their full potential. You have to measure it to manage it,” said Swanson.
“Being Pitch Smart compliant is a sound step for our league,” said Corvallis Knights CEO Dan Segel. “We’re pleased the league is doing this. Caring for young pitchers is a top priority. We look forward to supporting Pitch Smart rules and to embracing future arm care initiatives.”
More information about the program can be found at www.PitchSmart.org.
About the West Coast League: The West Coast League (WCL) is the premier summer collegiate baseball league west of the Mississippi. Situated in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, the fifteen-year-old, twelve-team, professionally operated wood-bat league showcases pro prospects from major conferences around the nation. Every summer, the league features unparalleled fan and player experiences, with the best summer weather in North America. Ninety alums and current players of WCL teams were selected in the 2019 MLB Draft, including No. 1 overall pick Adley Rutschman. In 2019, 317 WCL alums appeared or were active in affiliated professional baseball, including 45 in the major leagues, such as 2019 MLB All-Star Game MVP Shane Bieber (Cleveland Indians); star outfielder Mitch Haniger (Seattle Mariners); hurler James Paxton (New York Yankees); slugger Rhys Hoskins (Philadelphia Phillies); and rising star pitchers Marco Gonzales (Seattle Mariners) and Matt Boyd (Detroit Tigers). In 2019, overall member attendance increased to 497,050.