August 20, 2011; Pittsburgh,PA, USA: Pittsburgh Pirates first round draft choice Gerrit Cole (right) tosses a mitt back to a fan after signing an autograph before the game against the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USPRESSWIRE

When Will Gerrit Cole Make His Big League Debut?

July 8, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; USA pitcher Gerrit Cole delivers a pitch during the second inning of the 2012 All Star Futures Game at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

James McDonald was placed on the DL with discomfort in his right shoulder; he was replaced by Jeanmar Gomez who had a dominant performance against the Mariners. JMac will not be able to start on Sunday against the Mets, which has many fans wondering if Gerrit Cole will make his big league debut in NYC. The answer? A big fat no. Huntington has already stated, that the Pirate’s top-prospect will not be called up for the start.

Many will question why Cole will not get the spot start, even though Gomez pitched masterfully. Gomez pitched 5 innings giving up 0 runs on only 2 hits and striking out 5. It seems unlikely that Jeanmar is the long-term solution to the rotation, but his strong start should definitely get him the ball again on Sunday vs. the Mets. However, this won’t satisfy some of the fans as the cry for Cole has reached new levels. The team finds itself 3 games over .500 despite the fact that they had the toughest schedule in baseball to begin the year. Now in May, the Pirates can capitalize on an easier schedule and put themselves in a prime position for a winning season. Pirates’ fans everywhere want to see the future front-line starter called up to pitch alongside present ace, AJ Burnett. Pittsburgh’s starters have hit a snag in recent games and could really use a shot in the arm. In fact, the Pirates rank second to last in quality starts. With Liriano joining the staff and making his first start on Saturday, him and Cole could be the shake up this team needs.

Obviously, this is a moot point, as Cole will not be called up this month. A year of Cole in his prime is worth more than a month or two, but this would be a great time for Cole to join. Gerrit has gotten back to his dominant form in AAA after a somewhat slow start. He now posts a 2.45 ERA giving up 8 runs in 29.1 innings and has struck out 21 in the process. Cole has struggled with control this season as he has walked 17 batters but is still posting a WHIP below 1.30. Cole has struggled at first after each jump in the minors. Cole found his groove again in AAA after his 3rd start and a slow start should be expected for the flamethrower when he does finally get the call. Please…don’t jump if this happens.

Cole would get some help and a boost of confidence in his second start though. In what would be Cole’s first start in Pittsburgh, he would square off against the hapless Houston Astros (9-24). Cole could face up to as many as 6 right-handers in Houston’s lineup. Gerrit has been lights out against righties; he’s struck out 22% of them and has held them to a .098 batting average on the year. A start against the Astros could really get the ball rolling for Cole, and be just what the doctor ordered for a notorious slow starter.

After an expected slow start Gerrit Cole can be expected to be a key player in the Pirates’ quest for a winning season. Cole would face a couple of easier teams as a warm-up before getting into the dog days of June, July, and August. If Cole could get his jitters out early, he could be a force down the stretch and really help the team. But as stated before it’s a moot point. Barring anything crazy, Cole will be up in Pittsburgh at some point this season, clearly though, it wont be this weekend. Thus Making this whole article fairly pointless. But thanks for the read anyways.

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  • Tj Streib

    I would leave Cole at AAA til he absolutely positively dominates – not seeing that just yet. He’s doing “OK” at Indy, but so did Rick Vandenhurk

    • Tyler

      I agree that Cole hasnt always been dominant but he has gotten into his groove these last couple starts. In his last 5 starts he has a 1.50 ERA
      and opposing batters are only hitting for a .157 avg. That is pretty
      close to dominance. The only thing is increase in walks and decrease in
      Ks this year. He has been better with control these last couple games
      though. Not saying he will be called up but I think he would do fine if
      he did

    • Tj Streib

      yes it’s the walks that bother me. And with the way Liriano, Locke & Gomez have pitched, along with Morton & Karstens working their way back, it looks like there’s no rush right at the moment.