Skip to main content
All Posts By

Coming Up Next

Amateur Baseball Pitch Count Expectations

By BaseballNo Comments

Amateur baseball pitch count expectations: Laughably unrealistic, blatantly hypocritical, and pushed religiously by a generation of travel baseball parents loyal to a youth sports culture only concerned with winning and playing time.

I’d like to begin this article by painting a scenario in which you are the head coach of a 14u AA baseball team.

It’s the fifth inning of the fifth game of the weekend and your 14u team is playing for a AA championship. Your starting pitcher eclipsed the 85 pitch mark against the last hitter and the game has reached a pivotal point in determining who takes home the championship and is forever enshrined in plastic trophy galore.

“He can get us out of this jam,” you think. “But what other options do I have?”

“Well, I have my ace who threw 80 pitches on Friday but said he can give me one more inning,” you think to yourself. “But what about my number 2? He threw earlier today, but it was only 35 pitches…?”

Your assistant coach, one of the dads who’s mostly in the dugout to do GameChanger and chase foul balls, offers his unsolicited advice: “I think you need to take him out, he’s at uhh…” he pauses, mouth open, staring at his iPad. “88 pitches. Definitely needs to come out. I mean, I know we’re out of pitching and all but.. I guess you could try Blaze or Easton, they haven’t thrown yet.”

Easton is your left fielder and hasn’t pitched in a game since 10u. Blaze threw a couple times in mop up duty for you last year, but like Easton, he probably hasn’t thrown a single bullpen in the last calendar year. Not to mention, he has spent the entire game to this point as the starting catcher.

Now, as the team’s manager, you may make the right call here and it could be the reason why your team wins the game. Conversely, you may make the wrong move, and it could be the reason your team loses the game. There’s only one thing that’s guaranteed here: that no matter what move you make, you will be categorically abusing one or more of your athletes, and putting their arm(s) at risk.

The reality of this situation is that there is no combination of your players that is not in some way in violation of what is considered to be safe practice when it comes to arm health.

Don’t believe me? Let’s review some of the no-no’s when it comes to arm health:

-Pitching over the recommended single game pitch count limit

-Pitching before allowing your arm sufficient recovery time

-Pitching twice in the same day

-Pitching, and then playing the field as a position player the same day or the next day. Especially infield or catcher.

-Pitching without a proper ramp up period- aka primary position players pitching in game having not thrown a single bullpen.

-throwing a significant amount of pitches while out of season (ie fall or winter).

The truth of the matter is that with an 11 or 12 man roster, there is no way to always adhere to pitch count guidelines if your team plays tournament baseball. Competitive baseball and tournament baseball are basically synonymous here in the Midwest, so as a result, infractions occur regularly with nearly all teams.

Now, allow me to state the obvious: There are certainly examples that are worse than others. This Summer, I watched a pitcher throw 140 pitches in his first outing of the year. It was unacceptable. Make no mistake about it, coaches that make egregious mistakes like that deserve to be called out.

The issue I have here is with people using minor infractions as a reason to speak condescendingly to amateur, inexperienced coaches about their decisions when managing a team.

Sometimes, the most outspoken people on the subject are instructors. While they’re not wrong in their opinion, many of them are simply ignorant to the nuisances of the circumstances that exist in youth baseball. The rhetoric on this particular topic from instructors often lacks context and is often little more than virtue signaling.

However, when it comes to the issues that amateur baseball has when it comes pitch counts, nobody holds more blame than the people sitting in the stands.

Ah yes, the parents. Parents are typically the most outspoken when it comes to pitching infractions. The irony, of course, is that they are largely responsible for building a youth sports culture that is only loyal to winning and seeing their son receive maximum playing time. These loyalties are paradoxical to the concept of pitch counts, and their contradictions are obvious.

The only scenario in which we can realistically eliminate these issues involve creating 16 man rosters and severely limiting the number of players that participate as both a pitcher and position player. And if there’s only one truth in this article, it’s that no parent is going to be on board with implementing this for a 14u baseball team. 

Parents want their son to play shortstop in the championship game after throwing 90 pitches in the game before. Parents want to win. If their kid isn’t playing much, or the team isn’t winning much, what happens? They find a new team.

Does this make them terrible people or bad parents? Of course not. It makes them human. They are human, just like their coach. They are flawed and don’t always see the bigger picture. They make mistakes.

So next time you witness a coach violate the general pitching guidelines at an amateur baseball game, ask yourself the following questions before becoming outspoken and self-righteous:

-Is this a clear and egregious violation?

-Does he have alternative solutions that represent a safer choice?

-Does this coach’s only priority seem to be winning?

If the answer is no to these 3 questions (and it will be more often than you might think), try this instead: sit back, relax, and watch your son play the game he loves. You can always find reasons to be upset, but one day you’ll look up, and it will be over. That day will arrive a lot sooner than you’re expecting… Your time is best spent enjoying the ride.

SEASON PREVIEW: Lindbergh Flyers

By ShowcaseNo Comments

The Lindbergh Flyers are coming off a 25-win season, one in which they fell just short of a trip to the final four. The team has lost some high end talent from their 2021 class that included 3 D1 players. However, the Flyers won’t have too much about their ability to compete without them. They return several talented players and surely have the firepower to compete for a state title again in 2022.

What they have going for them:

2023 LHP Dane Bjorn (Mizzou) is coming off a summer in which he won MVP in the Area Code games. Bjorn had 10 starts a season ago with an impressive 69 strikeouts in 50 innings. He also boasted a .340 avg and proved to be a quality hitter for the Flyers. He seems like a safe bet as the Flyers’ ace and profiles as one of the better arms in the area.

2022 LHP Ethan Smith (Missouri Southern) returns with his perfect 7-0 record and 39 innings pitched. Smith pounds the zone with a mid to upper 80’s FB that has shown tremendous improvement from last season. He will step into a starting role after making 11 relief appearances and 4 starts a year ago. It will be fun to see if he can top the 42 strikeouts that he pilled up in his 15 appearances.

2022 3B/RHP Drew Politte (uncommitted) is one of the best two-way players in the state. He didn’t put up eye-popping numbers in 2021, but the talent is undeniable. He can provide a back-end bullpen arm to close out tight games while giving Lindbergh a power bat at third. Politte will need to pick up a lot of the slack offensively in replacing the key pieces that graduated in 2021.

2022 OF Zane Roos (Jeff Co) is another player that will have to produce offensively in the heart of the Flyers’ lineup. He finished the year with 4 home runs, though his batting average was a bit underwhelming. To be fair, though, Roos was able to produce 30 free passes along the way to put up a respectable OBP. He will be a vital part of the Flyers’ offensive success and play a big role in their outfield defensively.


The Flyers lost a lot of talent in their 2021 class, with perhaps no player tougher to replace than Shea McGahan. He was a difference maker in the batters box and behind the plate. He was able to shut down the running game and lead the pitching staff all while hitting over .500. They will need Eastern Illinois commit Luke Melton and Will Stockmann to step up and fill this void. 

The Flyers will also have to replace almost 90 innings on the mound. This will be a tough task with limited varsity experience on the roster. They will also have to replace 90+ hits from their offense, and if the guys mentioned above cannot have big seasons offensively, the flyers may find themselves in a tough spot.

There’s no doubt that Lindbergh will be relying on some key players to step up along with other players that have limited varsity experience due to last year’s team being so stacked. That said, the team is undeniably still talented enough to conceivably make a run at the state title in 2022. 

Unmentioned players to watch:


2022 OF Chris Ammons

2022 INF Adam Dupont

COMING UP NEXT: Presidents’ Florida Winter Series

By ShowcaseOne Comment

Historic Terry Park in Ft. Myers, Florida was the scene for the Presidents’ Day edition of Up & Coming’s Florida Winter Series. The event featured players from several cooler climate states like Illinois, Missouri, Michigan and Wisconsin. The event featured a total of eight games, with the majority of them being competitive and the championship ending on a sac-fly.

2023 Outfielder/LHP Landen Graves showed well all weekend, smashing a couple balls for extra base hits and running an event best 6.68 60. He was also up to 81 on the mound, earning a win for his team.

2023 1B/OF/LHP Carson Kaye was another upperclassmen that proved to be a standout performer. Kaye showed terrific feel for the barrel, leading the event in extra base hits. He possesses a very physical frame, and his swing path allows his barrel to stay through the zone, producing hard hit balls up the middle of the field.

2023 Infielders Tyler Floyd and Landon Potts both turned in quality performances, helping the Red team at the plate and on the bump. Floyd was arguably the event’s top performer at the dish, showcasing a high level swing pattern that creates natural loft and good carry on balls that he barrels. Potts hit several pull side line drives for singles and extra base hits, while showing developing actions on the infield. He was also excellent on the mound, leading the event in strikeouts.

A few other standout upperclassmen were Dallas Phillips (Michigan), Alex Ford (Missouri) and Andre Carl (Michigan). Phillips led the event in fastball velo, topping out at 87 mph from the right side. The Adrian College commit filled up the zone and has a projectable frame that will allow him to continue to add velo as he heads into his senior year. Ford on the other hand was more of a finesse pitcher, utilizing several pitches to keep hitters off balance. His gutsy performances on the mound were one of the primary reasons the White team was able to walk away victorious. Andre Carl (Michigan) delivered the best performance of the weekend statistically speaking, as his complete game for the Gray team handed the white team its only loss of the weekend. Carl has an athletic, projectable frame and was able to land all 3 of his pitches for strikes. If he adds velo, he will be an arm that generates a lot of collegiate interest.

One of the most striking aspects of this event were the amount of extremely talented underclassmen. Steven Whitted was an immediate standout because of his clean infield actions during the showcase portion of the event, as well as his plus bat speed from the left side. He was able to utilize these tools in game as well, producing several hits, stolen bases and smooth actions on the infield. Joseph Rutledge of the White team was the youngest player at the event, but that didn’t stop him from having one of the better performances of the weekend. His infield actions are excellent and he demonstrated a patient approach to compliment a balanced, linear swing. Once he develops physically as an athlete, he has a chance to be an elite high school player. 2025 OFer Jack Burle stood out at the plate, putting together one of the better BP rounds and amassing several hits over the course of the weekend. His skillset in the outfield is still developing, but he creates natural extension in his swing and clearly has feel for the barrel at a young age. It is easy to imagine him becoming a legitimate power bat as he gets older.

It was a memorable weekend at Terry Park, and it will be exciting to see how these players progress in the next six months through their high school and travel ball seasons.

All-Tournament Team


1B – Carson Kaye

2B – Joseph Rutledge

SS – Steven Whitted

3B – Tyler Floyd

OF – Landen Graves, Jack Burle, Kaleb Knaust

C – Carden Underwood

UTL – Alex Ford

Pitcher – Dallas Phillips, Landon Potts, Andre Carl


By High SchoolNo Comments

St. Louis University High School’s baseball program had a challenging season with limited success in 2021, but they also had a young core of players that received a lot of varsity experience. Given the talent level of these young players and the experience they gained last year, it isn’t hard to envision them making some noise while bouncing back in a big way in 2022. The MCC is tough to navigate with some of the best teams in the state playing in the conference seemingly every season, but the Billikens look to compete in large part due to a talented group of arms. SLUH is truly a dark horse candidate to take the MCC crown.

What they have going for them:

It’s easy to see that the strength of the Billikens is their high-level arms and that starts with 2022 LHP Jack Dumont (SLU commit). Jack has a strong build that will allow him to eat innings and hold his mid to upper 80’s velocity. He missed time last season with an injury, but he is back to full strength for the 2022 season. He looks to also be a major bat in the middle of their lineup.

Not to be outdone by his older brother, 2024 RHP Andrew Dumont (uncommitted) provides the Billikens with another ace.  Dumont has been able to sit 88-90 this off-season with command of the zone. He also has a CH/SL that he can control and draw swing and misses with. Dumont will look to build on the 30 innings he threw last season in his FR. campaign.
2023 RHP Garrett Shearer (uncommitted) may offer their best blend of pitchability and size. Shearer can ramp his fastball up to the upper 80’s and creates great horizontal movement. He returns with 7 starts under his belt and the experience to compete against tough MCC lineups. He will look to limit his walks this season and use his jump in velocity to rack up strikeouts.

2023 3B Parker Guthrie (uncommitted) will be a breakout candidate for the Billikens. He will need to be a staple in the middle of their order and provide a back-end bullpen arm. His numbers don’t jump off the page from a season ago, but you can tell the coaching staff trusts him in a myriad of roles.

2023 Infielder Henry Zenor is yet another player who could be a major piece for the Jr. Bills. Zenor is a fundamentally sound player with a beautiful stroke from the left side of the plate. He looks to take a step forward defensively in his second season as SLUH’s starting SS.



Like many teams we’ve covered so far, we find ourselves unsure as to what the team’s output will be offensively. SLUH returns just one player that hit above .300 a season ago. They also lost three of their top offensive contributors from last season.

It will be interesting to see how the Jr Bills establish an offensive identity. One positive is that they run the bases well and provide some disruptive speed.

They will need a combination of 2022’s Tommy Etling (uncommitted), Alex Shelton (uncommitted), and Mikey Floretta (uncommitted) to be huge contributors this Spring. This trio needs to provide senior leadership and timely hits throughout the course of the year. Adding Jack Dumont back to the lineup should also provide a much-needed boost.

The thing is, they don’t really need to be the best offensive team in the area to win a lot of games because of the plethora of talented pitchers on the roster. However, they will need to capitalize on what other teams give them and provide timely hits. If they can do that, there’s no telling what their ceiling is.

Unmentioned players to watch:

2024 SS Charlie Ison-McCall (uncommitted)
2022 RHP John Loretta (uncommitted)
2022 LHP Dennis Jakubik (uncommitted)

SEASON PREVIEW: Timberland Wolves

By High SchoolNo Comments

The Timberland Wolves enter the 2022 season with big names on the roster and high expectations for the team. The Wolves 2021 squad had a roster capable of going deep into the state tournament, but ultimately ended with four straight losses and being eliminated by their rival, Holt. That being said, there are several reasons to believe they’ll be a contender for a state championship in 2022.

What they have going for them:

They have some of the biggest star power in the state with their 2022 and 2023 classes. In addition to big names, the Wolves have depth all around the diamond with a wealth of varsity experience. It all starts with 2023 LHP and Arkansas commit Adam Hachman. He has the ability to live 93-95mph, occasionally touching upper 90’s, while pairing it with a CB/CH. Hachman will be able to dominate HS hitters if he can live in the zone and choose when he needs to ramp it up. The southpaw fanned 49 batters in 27 innings pitched last season.

As if Hachman wasn’t enough, the Wolves have 2023 RHP Jackson Yarberry (uncommitted), a high level RHP that gives Timberland one of the top 1-2 punches in the state. Yarberry can sit 86-88, occasionally popping 90, and also possesses excellent command and pitchability. The righty has a workhorse frame and should be able to eat up innings throughout the course of the season.

2022 UTIL Ryan Dickherber (Lindenwood) returns to pace the offense after boasting a .423 avg a season ago. He led the team with 13 XBH and showcases a free and easy lefthanded swing. He will need to provide a spark at the top of the Wolves batting order.

Timberland has an impressive list of college commits in the 2022 class, including Owen Powers (Jeff Co), Landon Willbrand (Lindenwood), Anthony Fumagalli (Illinois-Springfield), Ayalew Sisay (Indianapolis), Parker Dempsey (Drury) and Wyatt Seymore (Spoon River). This many quality, experienced varsity players should serve to provide consistency for the wolves lineup.



All the players mentioned so far were main stays in the lineup a season ago. Despite this, they fell short of expectations that many had for them.

Timberland will usually face their opponent’s best pitcher, and it will be interesting to see how their lineup holds up to this challenge.

The Wolves will also need to do a better job of executing on little things, and they need the high-end talent on their roster to consistently deliver results. Things like throwing strikes, limiting errors, bunt defense and quality baserunning can be separators in high school baseball. They had an abundance of errors a season ago and were also unable to steal many bags.

Undoubtedly, Timberland is a team capable of having a lot of success this Spring, and they’ll be a fun one to follow.

Unmentioned players to watch:

2023 Carson McCaleb C (uncommitted)
2023 Connor McCaleb RHP (uncommitted)
2022 Kyle Czeschin INF (uncommitted)