Pittsburgh Pirates primed for hot starts

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Sep 23, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) throws out a runner at second base after a bunt against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Gerrit Cole

Gerrit Cole has been as statistically reliable a pitcher as they come for the Pirates in the last season-and-a-half. He has a career 3.45 ERA and is looking to begin his first full, healthy season as a top of the rotation pitcher in Pittsburgh. To begin the season last April, he pitched to a 3.18 ERA with 26 strikeouts in 34 innings pitched. This spring, he has a 3.24 ERA in 16.2 innings pitched, to go along with 12 strikeouts and a 1.02 WHIP. Both ERAs are under his career ERA as Cole looks to develop into the ace many fans see him being in the future.

Cole also only has a season-and-a-half of major league pitching under his belt. If there have been any knocks on the former 2011 number one overall pick, it’s been that he’s needed to develop his off-speed pitches to compliment his blazing fastball. With each passing game last season, Cole did just that, improving his slider and curve ball at every turn. And the organization’s emphasis on limited pitch count as opposed to focusing on striking out batters should increase Cole’s durability, hopefully helping him to a long, healthy 2015.

Look for Cole to get off to a quick start this season, based on last April and his solid spring so far, with a lineup that can provide him with more runs than ever before, a pair of quality pitch framing catchers, and all the confidence in the world to become the future Pirates’ ace.

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