Starting Pitcher

Starting pitchers stand on the pitching mound, which is located in the center of the infield and 60 feet, six inches away from home plate.

Starting pitchers, as the position name indicates, are the pitchers that begin each game on the mound for a team. Starters were long asked to pitch as deep into games as possible, although many clubs in modern baseball employ pitch counts and will not let starting pitchers throw many more than 100 pitches in a start. This is done in an effort to preserve pitchers' health.

Few starting pitchers throw complete games in modern baseball -- it was once practically expected of starters to do so -- though many will throw one or two complete games per season. A starting pitcher is considered durable if he can regularly make 30 or more starts per season and approach or exceed 200 total innings during the regular season.

Starting pitchers do not field many batted balls, but they are often expected to make plays on weak grounders and bunted balls back to the mound. Beyond that, other infielders will typically call off a pitcher in pursuit of a ball in play. Even popups hit above or near the pitching mound will usually be fielded by an infielder who calls off the pitcher.

Teams in today's game typically rotate between five starting pitchers, meaning starters usually have four to five days off between trips to the mound. That recovery time is crucial, as a human arm is taxed greatly by throwing 100 or more pitches on the same day.

On offense: Starting pitchers hit regularly in the National League only, as the American League utilizes a designated hitter in place of the pitcher. Very few starting pitchers are good hitters, as they spend only a fraction of their time practicing offense. In the National League, pitchers are typically asked to lay down a sacrifice bunt if they come to the plate with a runner on first or second and fewer than two outs. Pitchers, unsurprisingly, are very strikeout prone at the plate and very rarely hit for any power.