With some of the pitchers taken after Gerrit Cole in the draft making some noise during their first month in pro ball, it’s hard to not get antsy about the Bucs first round pick. There was some speculation from Cole’s super agent Scott Boras that Cole could be in the big leagues this season.
Not many people bought it as Cole waited as late as possible before he signed with the Bucs in essence wiping out a year of development.
So he spent some time in the Arizona Fall League where he pitched quite well and now that Cole has made six starts for the Bradenton Marauders in High A we thought we would share some thoughts. He has thrown 28 innings and allowed 20 hits. Cole has given up three homerun balls, but has shown the ability to, on occassion, put batters away. The right hander has recorded 34 strikeouts against ten walks.
The video below is from his first start with the Maruaders on April 9 and was created by Thomas Belmont of Baseball Instinct. In the video, Cole shows some frustration late in his outing around the 15 minute mark. Cole gives up a double, but after kicking some dirt and sending a ball to the backstop, Cole wipes out the left handed hitter, stranding the runner.
He pitched four innings in his debut and as you can see struckout seven. His success against lefties has been solid, the flamethrower has held left handers to just seven hits in 14 innings while striking out 18. All of the homers Cole has allowed have come gainst right handed hitters.
In reviewing the video a few times this weekend, watching Cole in other videos and in Bradenton, some things have become consistent. He hangs a few pitches in nearly every outing, his velocity at times simply overmatches hitters, but he shows frustration a bit too much for my taste. The body language should and will improve on the mound but the results are certainly good for the Pirates ace of the future.
In his most recent start he started putting some things together, fewer pitchers were left up inducing more ground ball outs, and it also allowed him to pitch ahead in the count for most of the game. He induced weak contact and had only two flyball outs. The problem was he couldn’t get that big strikeout he needed in the third inning when he threw 28 pitches.
So while we are happy with Cole’s performance in Bradenton, it could obviously be better. In his first game he put hitters away when he needed to, in his sixth game he wasn’t able to do so. Consistency will come, but it’s obvious there is still some more polishing to come before Cole walks onto the PNC Park mound.