We like Gerrit Cole. The guy bought us a Big Mac. It’s hard not to like a guy who does that. [We wrote about his impressive night in this post.]
This report at FanGraphs is one of the best we have ever read about a Pittsburgh Pirates prospect. Here is a sample:
Cole has a true 80 fastball but he doesn’t cheat at all—his arm starts exploding when his hips do, he takes a direct path to home plate, his elbow stays low relative to his shoulder at foot plant, he has only slight head movement and good posture at release, a solid front side, an arm that works well out front all with good enough balance to not spin off to first base. Much the same way that I wrote about Marcus Stroman as a genetic freak that I want to bet on because he keeps beating expectations, I don’t want to bet against a guy with clean mechanics and the level of genetic gifting of Cole.
Back to the subtle improvement Cole made late in the season. One reason I think his results weren’t matching his stuff beyond pitch usage was that his aggressive stride would often be too long, causing him to overextend his front leg and throw against that leg rather than over it. In instructs, Cole’s stride was shorter and he consistently got over his front leg. This allows him to control his body better and have an easier time getting the ball down in the zone. His power fastball with lively movement should be a groundball machine and break bats left and right, which I think he’ll be doing more in 2013. Cole also appeared to raise his arm slot slightly to a consistent high ¾. In the full outing from May, I noticed his slot would lower occasionally to a ¾ slot, a sign of fatigue that leads to less command that could also just be a byproduct of a lack of focus or a slight posture/balance change.