How Many Pitchers On A Baseball Team

26-man Roster

Throughout a regular season, a team’s 26-man roster represents its entire roster of active Major League players from Opening Day through August 31, as well as its whole roster of active players during the postseason. From the start of the regular season to the completion of the regular season, all teams are required to field a roster of 28 players. In the Major League Baseball season, teams are not restricted in the number of pitchers they can carry on their 26-man active roster. Typically, clubs will roster between 12 and 13 pitchers compared with 13 to 14 position players (for a total of 26 active players), though the breakdown varies from team to team throughout the year.

All players on the 26-man roster are also required to be on the 40-man roster, and vice versa.

In advance of the 2020 season, a regulation was agreed upon – but has not yet been implemented – that prohibits position players from pitching except in the following circumstances: A “Two-Way Player” is someone who can play both ways.

Extra innings are played in a baseball game.

Two-way player status will not be granted until the 2022 season, however players can obtain two-way player designation for that season if they participate in 20 games as a pitcher and start 20 games as a position player in the 2021 season.

Following the conclusion of the doubleheader, the player will earn one day of Major League Baseball service time and will be returned to the Minor Leagues.

However, the 27th man is only authorized to participate in the regularly scheduled game on that day and not in the previously suspended game that day.

Pitchers must rest for a minimum of 15 days. For purposes of playing as the 27th man in a doubleheader or replacing a player on the disabled list, there is no minimum number of days that a player who has been optioned must remain in the Minor Leagues.

Rules for 2021 season

A maximum of five extra Taxi Squad players are authorized to accompany a Major League club on every road trip that the team is taking. If the team decides to carry five more players, at least one of them must be a player who has been assigned to the position of catcher prior to the start of the season. Players on the Taxi Squad are authorized to train out with the Major League team, but they are not permitted to be in uniform or in the dugout during games with the Major League squad. Players on the Taxi Squad will return to their respective club’s Alternate Training Site at the conclusion of each road trip.

After making his debut last year, the universal designated hitter did not return for the 2021 season.

Prior to the 2020 season, a regulation was established that limited the number of pitchers a team may carry to 13.

The aforementioned two-player rule, under which all players qualify as either a batter, a pitcher, or a two-way player, has been postponed until 2021, according to the league.

Baseball Rosters: 25-Man Roster and 40-Man Roster, A History

From the current 25-man active roster to the whole 40-man roster, the Major League team’s roster will be expanded on September 1. Now, every player on the 40-man roster is eligible to compete for a spot on the Major League club. September call-ups are players from the minor leagues who are called up to the Major Leagues to play in September in order to get Major League experience and, in the case of teams in contention, to give reinforcements down the stretch of the season. In baseball, a phantom ballplayer is a player who spent time on an active Major League roster (either the 25-Man or the 40-Man), but who never participated in a major league game.

  • Even though he was a successful minor league pitcher, he never made it to the majors, despite winning more than 250 games in the minors.
  • It is uncertain if he ever played for the squad on an active basis, as he had been wounded the previous winter.
  • As has been the case with numerous other players from this era, it is unclear whether Jones was ever a member of the A’s active roster during a season.
  • Mel Almada, his brother, became the first Mexican to play in the major leagues when he made his debut in 1933.
  • The Big Book of Jewish Baseball, edited by Peter and Joachim Horvitz, indicates that Levy’s time on the Giants’ bench happened in 1932, according to the book.
  • Despite the fact that Al Olsen never participated in a big league game, he is an exceptional example of a verified real-life individual who was listed in official major league records for many years despite never having played in a major league game.
  • However, according to research conducted by the Society for American Baseball Research in the 1980s, while Olsen had been with the Red Sox during 1943 spring training, he was released and signed by the San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League before the season began.

Olsen himself has stated “It wasn’t me who did it.

I wasn’t able to hit my hat.

Johnny Lazor, who wore uniform number 14, the same number Olsen wore in spring training, might possibly have been the pinch-hitter.

When umpire Frank Dascoli kicked out the whole Dodgers bench for disputing a call at home plate on September 27, 1951, Sharman was the only player ever to be ejected from an MLB game without ever having played in one, Sharman became the only player in history to accomplish this feat.

Ed Nottle was a pitcher who spent a few days on the active roster of the 1963 Chicago White Sox.

Ike Futch, an infielder with the Houston Astros, was brought up for a brief stint in 1966 but did not appear in a game due to a left knee injury.

Louis Cardinals, was called up to the big leagues in September 1974, although he did not participate in a game.

All three were pitchers.

On three separate instances, he was the on-deck batter, but on each of those occasions, the Pirates player who came up to bat before of him recorded the third out of the inning.

Pitcher who was named on the 1982 New York Yankees opening day roster, but who never participated in a Major League game during his career.

The 1983 Kansas City Royals utilized two catchers who were never needed to relieve regular backstop John Wathanat different points in the season.

Pitcher Mark Leonette was called up to the major leagues by the Chicago Cubs on July 3, 1987, and he was sent back down on July 11, 1987, after not appearing in a single game.

Pitcher Joe Law was on the active roster of the 1988 Oakland A’s for four days, however he did not participate in a game during that time.

In the 1992 New York Mets season, Terrel Hansen (OF/1B) was on the active roster for two games, on April 30 and May 1, but he was not given an opportunity to play.

When Harold Baines reached base on two consecutive evenings, manager Johnny Oatestold Dostal that he would pinch run for Baines; nevertheless, Baines was retired on both occasions.

Chimelis was unpopular among his Giants teammates as a result of his decision to cross the picket lines during the 1994-95 Major League Baseball strike (even though other replacement players had and would continue to appear in major league games).

The Giants management caved in, and Chimelis was soon sent back to the minors, never to participate in another Major League Baseball game again.

The roster transfer, on the other hand, was plainly intended as a favor for Percibal, who was recovering from bone spur surgery that he had undergone only two days before and was not expected to throw in a major league game at the time of the move.

In September of 1997, Ramon Martinez was a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ roster for a brief period of time.

From April 26 to 30, 2003, and again from August 1–2, 2003, pitcher Jeff Urban was a member of the San Francisco Giants’ active roster but did not participate in a game during his time with the team.

He did not appear in any games during that time.

Kenji Johjimawa was unable to play in those games, and the M’s did not want to risk going without a backup catcher in such situations.

In the month of September, catcher Tim Gradoville was on the Philadelphia Phillies active roster for 18 days, although he did not participate in any games for the team.

Despite the fact that Lahey spent his entire six-year minor league career with the Minnesota Twins organization, he was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the Rule V Draft in December 2007, traded to the Chicago Cubs, released by the Cubs, signed by the Philadelphia Phillies, and then returned to the Twins rather than being retained on the major league roster during a five-month period from December 2007 to April 2008.

  1. (which was a condition of being a Rule V draft pick.) Lahey accomplished all of this without ever throwing a pitch during regular season competition.
  2. When asked about his call-up, general manager Neal Huntington said, “The likelihood of Luis remaining in the country for an extended period of time is remote.
  3. Eventually, he was sent to the Seattle Mariners’ minor league development system.
  4. Starting on September 1, 2011, after being acquired from the Boston Red Sox organization, pitcher Jason Rice was a member of the Oakland Athletics’ active roster.
  5. Jose Yepez, a catcher, was on the Seattle Mariners’ active roster from June 29 to July 6, 2011, however he did not participate in a game during that span.
  6. While pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays from April 5 to 9, 2014, pitcher Marcus Walden did not make an appearance in a game during that time period.
  7. Non-Roster Players are any other professional baseball players connected with Major League Baseball who are not on the Major League roster and have been signed to Minor League contracts.

Prospect players who are there to gain experience and face tougher competition, as well as to receive instruction from the Major League team’s coaching staff, and veteran players who have not been offered a major league contract by a club are the two types of players who are most commonly invited to non-roster games.

All spring training invitees are required to sign some form of contract in order to prevent being held liable if an accident occurs to the athlete.

How Many Players Are On A Baseball Team [Roster & Lineup]

You may be wondering how many players make up a baseball team. If that’s the case, we’ve got an answer for you! A typical Major League Baseball team has 26 players. This comprises not just starting pitchers and catchers, but also bench players such as the bullpen catcher and backup infielders who come in during games. Additional team members who are not included in the overall number are those who are affiliated with the team on a more casual basis. Coaches, scouts, trainers, and other clubhouse employees are examples of those that fall into this category.

What better opportunity to explore the remainder of our blog to learn even more about baseball, which is America’s favorite pastime?

Baseball Starting Positions

A pitcher is a member of a baseball team who is responsible for throwing the ball toward home plate to begin each play. A pitcher’s other names include hurlers and throwers, as well as the term “pitcher.” It is possible for there to be more than one pitcher in a game; nevertheless, only the pitcher who is pitching at any one moment is referred to as the “starter” or “starting pitcher.” Starting pitchers have always been pushed to go as deep into games as possible, but today’s starters are frequently pulled after six or seven innings of work.

Because the American League employs designated hitters rather than allowing the pitcher to hit, the National League is the only league in which starting pitchers are often struck in the face.

They enter the game when their side is ahead or has a good chance of winning.


When the pitcher throws a pitch, the catcher returns to his position behind home plate to collect it and throw it back. They are in charge of “calling” pitches, or determining which pitch should be thrown next based on factors such as the number and quality of strikes thrown by the pitcher so far, the number of outs, the score, the number of runners on base, and other considerations. Catchers must be able to communicate effectively since they play such a crucial part in assisting their pitchers in throwing the appropriate amount of strikes and keeping runners from reaching base.

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First Baseman

A first baseman is a member of a team who is responsible for playing the position at first base. Traditionally, first basemen have been regarded as the cornerstones of their respective teams, as they are the first to receive throws from other players in order for that play to conclude with them throwing runners out or catching and tagging them in order to prevent them from advancing any further on the field.

First basemen are often not as quick or nimble as other fielders, but they are typically quite powerful, which makes them perfect for their position on the field.

Second Baseman

A second baseman is a member of a baseball team who plays the position at second base on the field. It is common knowledge that second basemen are part of what is known as “the double-play combo,” with shortstop being another critical infielder. To turn double plays, second basemen must be nimble and powerful enough to catch and throw the ball away securely. They must also be able to get rid of the ball swiftly and safely, which frequently entails lengthy throws across the diamond.

Third Baseman

A third baseman is a member of a baseball team who is responsible for playing third base. Third basemen are regarded as important members of their respective teams since they are frequently relied upon to make defensive plays at third base on hit balls. Third basemen must be nimble in order to cover a large amount of territory fast, but they must also have an accurate throwing arm because many of their throws are directed at the first baseman in order to knock out the runner or hitter.


A shortstop is a member of a team who plays the position of shortstop for his or her club. “The double-play combination,” which includes shortstops and second baseman, is regarded to be one of baseball’s most crucial infield positions. Because they cover so much territory between second and third base, shortstops must have quick reflexes and dexterous hands to be effective. As well as being precise and powerful with their throws, shortstops must be able to make lengthy throws across the diamond toward first or second base.

allowfullscreen “The Dark Knight Rises: What Went Wrong?” is the title of the article.

Left Fielder

A left fielder is a member of a team who plays the position of left fielder on the field. Left fielders are regarded to be a component of what is referred to as “the outfield,” which also includes the center and right fields in baseball. Left Fielders must be nimble enough to catch line drives hit at them by opposing players, but they must also have a powerful throwing arm since they must throw the ball over long distances in order to force runners out of scoring positions.

Center Fielder

In baseball, a center fielder is one of the players on the team who plays his position in the middle of the field (surprise, surprise!). Center fielders are a component of what is referred to as “the outfield,” which also comprises the left and right fields in baseball. All outfielders, but especially center fielders, must be quick and nimble in order to grab balls that are batted toward them and force opposition players out of the game.

Right Fielder

A right fielder is a member of a baseball team who plays the position of right fielder on the field of play. Right fielders are regarded to be a member of what is referred to as “the outfield,” which also comprises the center and left fielders of the baseball team. Having strong throwing arms is essential for right fielders since they frequently make throws over great distances toward home plate in order to force runners out of the game.

Right fielders require quick reactions and dexterity as well, since they must make catches on balls that are batted toward them from a wide range of locations in the outfield.

Designated Hitter (American League)

The designated hitter (sometimes known as “the DH”) is a baseball player who plays the role of designated hitter for his or her club. In other words, he does not play any defensive roles and instead dedicates his time only to hitting for his team’s benefit. DHs must be able to hit the ball extremely hard in order to aid their team’s scoring efforts. Because the designated hitter is the only player on either side who is not permitted to make defensive plays, he must rely exclusively on his batting abilities in order to make a meaningful contribution to his team.

Different Baseball Roster Sizes

The Major League Baseball roster is restricted to a total of 26 individuals. The Major League Baseball teams, on the other hand, can have as many as 40 players under contract for the duration of a single season, and they can call up extra players from the minor leagues as needed during the regular baseball season. The league permits clubs to have 26 players from Opening Day through Aug. 31, including the postseason, and 28 players from Sept. 1 until the completion of the regular season, excluding the postseason.

Minor League Baseball Team Roster Size

The maximum number of players permitted on AA and AAA rosters is 28, which is an increase of three players above the previous year’s restriction of 27. High-A and low-A rosters are now permitted to have 30 member roster restrictions, an increase of five players above the previous rule. Due to the fact that it is a rookie season, In the past, roster limitations were permitted to go as high as 35 players, but currently they are only allowed to have 25 players.

NCAA Roster Size

Until recently, a collegiate baseball team representing D1, D2, and D3 institutions could only have 35 players on the roster, with 27 of those players getting financial assistance. Several significant modifications were authorized by the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) in 2020, including

  1. Removing the 35-player limit from rosters
  2. The number of athletes that can be on scholarship should be increased from 27 to 32 players.

Youth Roster Size

Little League Baseball offers divisions for youngsters ranging in age from 4 to 16. The following are examples of what they are:

  • Among the divisions are Tee Ball (for children ages 4-7), Minor League (for children ages 5-11), Major Division (for children ages 9-12), Intermediate (for children ages 11-13), Junior League (for children ages 12-14), and Senior League (for children ages 13-16).

The following are the minimum and maximum roster sizes for youth baseball teams:

  • Tee Ball and Minor Divisions do not have a minimum or maximum roster size
  • However, they do have a maximum roster size. There must be a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 15 participants in the Major, Intermediate, Junior, and Senior Divisions of the tournament. Major Division: Each league has the authority to designate the maximum number of 12-year-olds that a team may have on its roster.

A good video explaining Major League Baseball rosters may be found here:” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen “The Dark Knight Rises: What Went Wrong?” is the title of the article. “Wisecrack Edition” > “Wisecrack Edition”

Roster Rules

The 40-man roster is comprised of all players who have signed a big league contract with a Major League Baseball team and have been added to the team’s active roster during the current season. This covers players who are on the 25-man game-day roster as well as those who are inactive, injured, or suspended from participating in the game.

Major League Baseball Playoff Roster Rules

On August 31, any player who was on the 40-man roster or 60-day injured list as of 11:59 p.m.

ET was eligible to participate in the postseason. The participation in the postseason is not permitted for a player who has served a doping suspension during a given season. All players acquired in September or after are ineligible to participate. The NCAA Baseball Roster Rules are as follows:


A maximum of between 13 and 14 position players (for a total of 26 active players) are permitted for each side, however the breakdown fluctuates from club to club during the year. A team’s 26-man roster must have at least 25 players in order for it to be considered complete.

What is the 40 man roster in baseball?

In addition to the 40-man roster, which is also known as the expanded roster, the expanded roster is made up of all of the players in a Major League club’s organization who have signed a major-league contract. Players on this list are eligible to be called up to the NHL’s 25-man roster at any point in the season. On the 40-man roster are any players who are on the 15-day injured list as well as minor leaguers who have signed a major league contract but have been assigned to the minors as part of a “optional assignment.” In the event that a player gets added to the 40-man roster prior to being released, he has three option years in which he can be sent to the minors.

How many pitchers are on a baseball team?

A Major League Baseball team is not restricted in the number of pitchers that they may field. During the regular season, the great majority of teams have up to 13 pitchers on their active roster, which is a record.

What is the Restricted List in Baseball?

In baseball, the restricted list is a list of players who are no longer affiliated with an organization but who are not eligible to become free agents. After leaving the team without providing a solid explanation, the club may request that his services be placed on the restricted list in order to protect the interests of the team.

What Is the Paternity List?

Among the players on the restricted list are those who have retired from organized baseball but are not yet eligible to sign with a new organization as free agents. A player’s services may be asked to be placed on the restricted list by the club if he or she has left the squad without providing a sufficient cause.


We hope you found this article to be informative. Were you able to get an answer to your query concerning the number of players on a baseball team? If this is the case, please do not hesitate to contact us and share your thoughts. The Most Important Takeaways

  • Find out how many players are on a baseball team by watching this video. The varied roster sizes for baseball teams at different levels
  • The various roles in baseball and the players who make up the nine-player opening lineup are discussed below. Baseball laws for both minor league and major league baseball
  • For a youth baseball team, there are many roster sizes to choose from

In addition, you may want to share this post with someone who enjoys sports in the same way you do, or if you believe there is someone out there who does not know much about them. After all, when it comes to better understanding these things, information is power, so don’t be afraid to ask questions! This page was last updated on

How Baseball Works (a guide to the game of Baseball)

The Pitching Rotation and the Bullpen are two important aspects of the team’s success. Major League Baseball clubs will often have eleven or twelve pitchers on their rosters, depending on the league (eleven pitchers, and thirteen “position players” are considered the minimum, with the twenty fifth position normally being down to managerial preference). On a usual basis, pitchers are assigned to one of three separate roles: those who start games, those who relieve in the middle innings, and those who relieve late in the game.

  1. Pitchers, like batters, can be replaced at any moment by another pitcher, just as they can with hitters.
  2. The first rotation is known as the starting rotation.
  3. Even if the schedule is favorable, a team may sometimes manage with a four-man rotation, and in the distant past, some teams were able to get away with a three-man rotation.
  4. A starting pitcher would typically throw between 90 and 120 pitches before being removed from a game by his manager, depending on the circumstances (unless he gets battered early on and “chased from the game”).
  5. Each side will have a “Ace,” who will be the starting pitcher at the top of the rotation.
  6. It is common for excellent teams to have a No.2 pitcher who is almost as good or better than its starting ace, but the lower you go in the rotation the worse the pitcher becomes.
  7. In an ideal world, the no.5 pitcher would never be called upon – you hope he wins his start, but you don’t expect him to.
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Being aggressive and matching your no.1 with their no.1, your no.2 with their no.2, and so on is sometimes necessary.

For example, throw your no.5 at their no.1 (with the expectation that he will be beaten), then your no.1 at their no.2, your no.2 at their no.3, and so on and so forth.

The winner of each game is only counted once!

If a hitter can face 10 pitches before being struck out, he has done an excellent job of bringing the pitcher closer to his pitch count (typically, a team will only allow a pitcher so many pitches before removing him, even if he claims to be fine).

In baseball, one of the most difficult choices a manager must make is when to pull a starting pitcher and bring in a substitute.

It’s crucial to recognize when he’s “beginning to toast” rather than waiting for him to “burn entirely.” In the late innings of games, the relievers come in to help out.

It’s the most stressful situation to be in since the game is on the line, and the opponent will utilize every pinch hitter they have available and take any risk they can to try to score an extra run.

However, the position is similar to the closer in many ways, with the exception of the fact that the pressure is not quite as intense.

Due to the fact that the closer and setup pitchers would seldom pitch more than one inning every game, it is relatively usual for them to pitch in two or three consecutive games before needing to take a day off to relax.

The Middle Relief is a type of relief that occurs between two points on a scale.

In a perfect world, the starter pitches so effectively that he is able to pitch into the eighth or even ninth inning (a “complete game”), and the team’s bullpen does not have to throw at all, allowing them to have a day’s rest.

Most of the time, the starter will not make it all the way to the seventh inning and will be pulled from the game in the sixth or seventh inning, respectively.

It is necessary for the team’s remaining four or five pitchers to step in and hold down the fort in all of these situations.

Because this pitcher will usually only come in when a starter has been chased from a game early, his manager has effectively given up on winning the game (but someone has to come in and pitch six or seven innings to get them to the end – you don’t want to waste the rest of the bullpen on a losing cause).

Normally, they’ll come in because the starter has just demonstrated that he’s starting to get tired (often by putting his final couple of hitters on base), and the middle reliever will often come in with runners already on base in order to save the game (and in the past, were consequently referred to as “firemen”).

When the starter has left the game but the late-innings relievers haven’t been reached yet, the highest scoring innings are frequently recorded in the period following.

Unlike the rest of their team, the middle and late-inning relievers do not generally sit on the bench with the rest of their team, but rather in a warm-up area known as the “bullpen.” The average time it takes a pitcher to warm up is five to ten minutes, so when the manager believes he may need a pitcher out of the bullpen, a phone call will be placed to the bullpen to get a pitcher warming up.

  • The pitcher then gets himself out of a jam, and the bullpen pitcher takes his place in the circle once more.
  • A manager’s choice on which pitchers to utilize out of the bullpen is decided on the fly, depending on the situation.
  • Changing out a Pitcher While it is possible to replace a pitcher at any moment, it is typically considered poor etiquette to do so in the middle of an at-bat (see below) (unless the pitcher is injured).
  • The pitcher then walks away from the mound (perhaps to cheers from the crowd, sometimes not!) and the new pitcher enters from the bullpen to take over.
  • Pitchers in Case of Emergency In baseball, there are no ties, so if the score is tied after eight innings, extra innings are played.
  • Most teams will include one or two position players (i.e.
  • A game that lasted to 14, 15, or 16 innings will have some extremely odd pitchers at the conclusion of it, if one looks at the box score.
  • One significant distinction between the Minor Leagues and the Major Leagues is the employment of the designated hitter.
  • The pitcher’s time to bat does not arrive until late in the game, thus there is no need to make a decision.

During the late innings of a close game, when the pitcher’s turn to bat comes up, the manager may decide that he cannot afford to “waste” an at-bat by allowing the pitcher to hit for himself, and he will instead bring in a pinch-hitter to hit for the pitcher, and then at the start of next inning, replace the pinch-hitter with another pitcher from the bullpen.

In the National League, a “double switch” method is an alternative to the traditional approach.

While a position player takes over for the pitcher (in the batting order), a pitcher takes over for a position player (probably one who has just hit), resulting in a situation in which the club still has a pitcher on the mound, but he won’t be required to hit any time soon.

An outfielder (who had just hit eighth in the order) is replaced by a pitcher from the bullpen in the top of the seventh inning, and the current pitcher is replaced by a reserve outfielder (who now hits ninth in the order) (who pitches, but now has eight hitters ahead of him before he is due up).

  1. Managerial strategy without the presence of a Designated Hitter is frequently much more difficult!
  2. This is the responsibility of a pitcher who has been designated for “long relief,” and to a lesser extent, the responsibility of the lower-level pitchers in the rotation.
  3. 5 starter will be successful in some games, but you don’t always put your faith in him or her (and if you do, expect to lose it).
  4. Shutouts, complete games, no-hitters, and perfect games are all types of games.
  5. No-hitters are pitchers who manage to go the entire nine innings without allowing even a single base hit to be hit by the opposing team.
  6. Depending on how you count them, there have been approximately twenty perfect games played in the history of Major League Baseball (MLB).

There have been two instances in which a pitcher has pitched a perfect nine innings but the score has remained tied at zero, and he has been forced to go into extra innings to save the perfect game.

MLB Planning To Reinstitute Pitcher Limit On Active Rosters In 2022

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, when the 2022 season begins, Major League Baseball will once again restrict teams to having a maximum of thirteen pitchers on their active roster. In February 2020, Major League Baseball introduced a 13-pitcher restriction, although the regulation has been lifted in each of the previous two seasons as part of the MLB-MLBPA agreement on COVID-19 health and safety procedures. The 13-pitch limit, it turns out, may only be the beginning of the story. According to Nightengale, the league is open to capping the number of hurlers on an active roster at twelve, or maybe eleven in the future.

  • Increased velocity across the board has been attributed to the use of younger arms.
  • In 2002, the first year for which FanGraphs provides pitch statistics, the average speed of those offerings was 89.0 miles per hour, 80.4 miles per hour, and 75.0 miles per hour, respectively.
  • Nonetheless, there appears to be some credence to the notion that pitchers’ shorter per-game durations are playing a part in the spike in innings.
  • All of this is being done in an effort to reduce the number of strikeouts that have become so common in today’s game.
  • Although a portion of this is due to the reintroduction of pitcher hitting in the National League following the 2020 season with the addition of a universal DH, it is by no means a new occurrence.
  • (Again, using 2002 as a baseline, the strikeout rate has increased by more than seven percentage points from that year’s 16.8 percent figure.).
  • Another factor that might be contributing to the increase in whiffs is the frequent usage of foreign chemicals by pitchers on the ball.

MLB has already said that they want to tighten down on the use of illegal substances, and Nightengale says that the organization has now directed umpires to be “vigilant” in this endeavor, with more enforcement coming in the next two weeks.


With the league now urging umpires to act in order to minimize the use of foreign substances, it wouldn’t be surprising if similar scenarios developed in the future days as well.

MLB consultant Theo Epstein tells Nightengale that when the electronic strike zone is implemented, it will be “very straightforward to make tweaks in the strike zone.” The goal is to make contact as efficient as possible.

It’s now quite tall, but it’s also extremely thin.

For his part, Epstein explains why the sport has trended in the manner that it has, and then offers some suggestions about how to promote a more conventional, contact-oriented style of play.

He also discusses the thinking processes that went into the experimental rule modifications that are presently being evaluated at various levels of the minor leagues and in independent ball, according to the former Red Sox and Cubs executive. Take a look at the comments (205)

r/NoStupidQuestions – How many pitchers does a pro baseball team need and why?

There is no official regulation stating that a minimum number of pitchers must be used. In practice, though, it is necessary to give pitchers a few of days rest between extended outings. For many years, teams relied on four pitchers who rotated during the games, and they frequently played for the whole of the contests. Using this logic, a club would only require four starting pitchers, as well as a couple of relief pitchers in case one of the four were injured during a game or were doing so poorly that it became essential to replace them with another pitcher.

  • From that point on, most relievers only pitched for roughly an inning.
  • The result of this is that a baseball club needs a minimum of 5 starters, 3 short relievers, and 1 long reliever, for a total of nine pitchers.
  • In addition to the nine individuals already indicated, a club might benefit from the inclusion of more pitchers.
  • Additionally, the handedness of the pitcher is important, thus clubs would likely want both lefty and righty pitchers to perform comparable roles, depending on the handedness of the hitters they face.

This would result in a greater demand for pitchers.Since a baseball team has 8 or 9 hitters in the starting lineup, plus the need for backups at each position (e.g., backup catcher, backup infielder, backup outfielder), 11-13 spots on the team’s roster will need to be filled by hitters, leaving room for 12-14 pitchers.

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Summary: Theoretically, a team requires one player.

In the current game, 9 or 10 players on a team’s roster could be the absolute minimum a club would desire, while 12 or 13 pitchers would be the most number of pitchers a team would have available for any particular game.

Pitcher – BR Bullpen

The pitcher (sometimes known as the hurler or the moundsman) starts the game by tossing the ball for the batter to hit. When it comes to defense, good pitching is so vital that the function of the pitcher is qualitatively distinct from the roles of all other defensive players combined. To the exclusion of every other position, where even the best defensive players must contribute offensively, pitchers are chosen solely on the basis of their ability to strike out opposing hitters. Additionally, the physical strain of pitching distinguishes it from all other positions in terms of quality of play.

In contrast to other positions where a single regular player obtains the lion’s share of a team’s playing time, it is uncommon for a current pitcher to throw more than roughly 1/6 of his team’s total innings pitched throughout a season.

Each pitcher is allocated a position, which is often either that of a starting pitcher or that of a reliever.

Starting pitchers

The beginning pitcher is, as the name indicates, the pitcher who throws the first pitch for his or her team in a game. The starter is anticipated to go far into the game, and he will often not be removed until he has exhausted his options or is forced to be replaced by a pinch hitter. During a game, starting pitchers frequently throw 100 or more pitches and must rest for several days afterward to recuperate from the exertion. Modern teams often feature 5 starting pitchers that rotate through the lineup on a weekly basis.

Relief pitchers

In baseball, the starting pitcher is the pitcher who throws the first pitch for his or her club. Because of this, starting pitchers are expected to throw for an extended period of time, and they aren’t often changed until they are tired or require a pinch-hitting replacement. Starting pitchers frequently throw 100 or more pitches in a game and must rest for several days thereafter to recuperate from the exertion of the position. Nowadays, teams often have 5 starting pitchers that rotate through the lineup on a weekly basis.

Long reliever

In contrast to the general norm that relievers only pitch in little amounts, along reliever is the exception. Bringing in a lengthy reliever is necessary when the manager need several innings of relief, either because he was forced to withdraw the starter early in the game or because the game is in extra innings and the manager is unsure how long it will go. While the responsibilities of a long reliever are more akin to those of a starting pitcher than those of other relievers, managerEarl Weavers stated that long relief was a perfect job for a rookie pitcher who was seeking to break into the starting rotation.

Middle reliever

An amiddle reliever is a pitcher who enters the game later in the game than a long reliever, typically in the 6th or 7th inning. He is supposed to defend a lead, or to prevent the other side from expanding its advantage, for around one inning before being relieved by a setup man in the next inning. Middle relievers are frequently called upon to enter the game after the starter has struggled and allowed hitters to reach base, therefore they must be proficient in stranding inherited runners.

Setup man

A setup man is typically introduced into a game in the seventh or eighth inning when his side is tied or in the lead, respectively.

He is required to hold on to the lead or to maintain a tie before the manager pulls his closer into the game. Setup guys are sometimes referred to as “closers in waiting.”


When a game is in doubt, thecloseris the reliever who specializes in bringing it to a conclusion. This role is often held by the best reliever on the team. Today’s standard practice is for the closer to be called into the game to open the 9th inning when his team has a three-run or fewer advantage in the game.


LEO utG u Y (short for ” LeftyOneOutG UY “, often known as “lefty specialist”) is an infielder who is called in to face one or two left-handed hitters at a vital point in the game. Some clubs have right-handed pitchers who are utilized in a similar position against right-handed batters, but their employment is considerably less stereotypical than the use of left-handed specialists, which is a positive development.


Aswingman (also known as a spot starter) is a pitcher who can be utilized as a starter or as a relief depending on the situation. Similarly to the criteria of a long reliever, swingmen are most often employed in this capacity when they are called upon to relieve the other team’s pitchers. The swingman will be granted an occasional start, either to provide the rest of the staff with an extra day of rest, to fill in for a starter who is unable to play due to injury or suspension, or because the club is playing two games in a single day on the road.

It is possible that some teams may take advantage of this by converting their fifth starter into a swingman for the initial month of the season.

Historical Usage

The severe specialization stated above is only applicable to contemporary use patterns. Over time, the use of pitching has changed, with tendencies toward larger pitching staffs and increasing specialization becoming more prevalent. The following is a succinct explanation of the variations in pitching usage:

  • For much of their tenure in the pre-professional and National Association leagues, clubs depended heavily on a single pitcher, with only sporadic relief appearances made by position players. Teams only played a few games a week, pitchers were limited to a less strenuous underhand action, and substitutes required the permission of the other club
  • As a result, the schedule increased fast from the National League’s inception in 1892 to the present day. The usage of more effective, but stressful, sidearm and overhand pitching actions by pitchers was also allowed under the new rules. As a result of these changes, it became untenable for teams to rely on a single major starter, and they began to extend their staffs to include two and eventually three primary starters. Relief appearances were remained infrequent, despite the fact that replacement rules allowed other starting pitchers to serve as relievers rather than position players in some situations. In 1893, the pitching distance was raised, and staffs were forced to expand once again as pitchers were put under more pressure. By 1900, the vast majority of clubs distributed their starting duty among four or even five pitchers. Many clubs had a few of pitchers who were utilized primarily in relief, but relief appearances were still infrequent enough that the bullpen burden was relatively modest. As rosters grew during the Deadball Era, pitching staffs grew as well. Even though teams continued to distribute their beginning workload among four or five pitchers, bullpen appearances were far more prevalent. The use of real relief pitchers became popular among certain teams throughout the 1920s and early 1930s, when teams stretched their starting rotations even more, with some teams fielding as many as six pitchers who each earned a large amount of starts. Managers became more aggressive about bringing in relievers to protect leads, rather than simply replacing pitchers who had been pinch hit for or knocked out of the game
  • In the late 1930s and 1940s, full-time relief pitchers became more common
  • And in the 1950s and 1960s, full-time relievers became more common. Improvements in transportation made it possible for teams to establish more regular schedules, which allowed them to settle on a four-man rotation between the 1950s to the 1970s. The divide between starters and relievers has become increasingly clear. The number of fully completed games has continued its long-term downward trend. It was known that teams had ace relievers who would be deployed in the most difficult situations, but the employment of these relievers was not highly specialized
  • In the late 1970s and early 1980s, teams began to transition to 5 man rotations rather than 4 man rotations. As the year progressed, the number of completed games continued to fall. Managers got concerned about their top relievers becoming overworked and attempted to limit their usage in order to preserve their arms. As a result, the older relief ace who was used in any tight situation was replaced with something more akin to the modern closer, who was only used late in games to protect leads. This occurred from the late 1980s to the early 2000s, as teams rapidly increased the number of relief pitchers while also assigning them more specialized roles. Since then, the five-man rotation has become standard, and complete games have all but disappeared
  • In the 2010s, some teams have abandoned the use of starting pitchers altogether, instead relying on bullpen games that are started by a ” opener” and then followed by a group of relievers
  • Pitching staffs have also grown in size, with some teams employing seven or eight full-time relievers. The outcome was that Major League Baseball implemented regulations requiring relievers to face a minimum number of batters and restricting the number of pitchers allowed on teams.

Further Reading

  • “Arms and the Men,” in How Life Imitates the World Series, Penguin Books, New York, NY, 1982, pp. 191-195
  • Thomas Boswell, “Arms and the Men,” in How Life Imitates the World Series, Penguin Books, New York, NY, 1982, pp. 191-195
  • Pitchers in the Field: The Use of Pitchers at Other Positions in the Major Leagues, 1969-2009, The Baseball Research Journal,SABR, Volume 40, Number 2 (Fall 2011), pp. 84-88
  • Jim “Mudcat” Grant, Tom Sabellico, and Pat O’Brien: The Black Aces: Baseball’s Only African-American Twenty-Game Winners, Aventine Press, Chula Vista, CA, 2007.ISBN 978-1593304881 Pages 61-62 of McFarland & Company’s 1993 book, Jefferson, NC. Baseball historians include Roger Kahn, whose book The Head Game: Baseball Seen from the Pitcher’s Mound was published in 2000 by Harcourt, Inc. in New York City.ISBN 0156013045
  • Tyler Kepner, whose book K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches was published in 2019 by Doubleday in New York City.ISBN 9780385541015
  • John A. Knox, whose article “The 100 Top-Fielding MLB Pitchers, circa 1900 Pitchers have more to do with their minds than their arms, according to Will Leitch in The Atlantic’s Vol. 319, No. 4, May 2017, pp. 30-32
  • Norman L. Macht in Baseball Digest’s March 1991 issue, pp. 57-58
  • Terry McDermott in Off Speed: Baseball, Pitching, and the Art of Deception, Pantheon Books, New York, NY, 2017.ISBN 978-0307379429
  • William F. McNeil HarperCollins Publishers, New York, NY, 2016.ISBN 9780062400369
  • HarperCollins Publishers, New York, NY, 2016.ISBN 9780062400369
  • J.G. Preston (J.G. Preston): “What was he thinking when he did that? The Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Volume 44, Number 2 (Fall 2015), pp. 5-9
  • David Vincent: “Pitchers Dig the Long Ball (At Least When They Are Hitting),” The Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Volume 44, Number 2 (Fall 2015), pp. 5-9
  • David Vincent: “Pitchers Dig the Long Ball (At Least When They Are Hitting),” The Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Volume 44, Number 2 (Fall 2015), “Volume 41, Number 1 (Spring 2012), pp. 7-11
  • Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Volume 41, Number 1 (Spring 2012). In 2014, Rich Westcott published Great Stuff: Baseball’s Most Amazing Pitching feats, Sports Publishing LLC published What Makes an Elite Pitcher? in New York, NY
  • Warren N. Wilbert published What Makes an Elite Pitcher? in New York, NY in 2014. Young, Mathewson, Johnson, Alexander, Grove, Spahn, Seaver, Clemens, and Maddux, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2003.ISBN 978-0-7864-1456-7
  • Young, Mathewson, Johnson, Alexander, Grove, Spahn, Seaver, Clemens, and Maddux, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2003.ISBN 978-0-7864-1456-7

See also

Baseball positions
Outfielders: Left field|Center field|Right field
Infielders: 3rd base|Shortstop|2nd base|1st base
Battery: Pitcher|Catcher Designated hitter

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