Gerrit Cole en route to National League Cy Young candidate?

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Gerrit Cole has been money for the Pittsburgh Pirates so far this year. The flamethrower and hopeful ace is 4-0 with a 1.76 ERA on the season after Wednesday night’s game against the Chicago Cubs. Last night, Cole continued his recent dominance, hurling six innings of three-hit, one run ball (unearned) with eight strikeouts and only one walk. Those are ace numbers. Fans have been waiting for Cole to ascend to acehood, and this may be his season to do just that.

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One big reason to believe that Cole’s success this season might be for real is his consistency. Outside of his first start of the season in which he gave up three runs, Cole hasn’t given up more than one earned run and hasn’t pitched less than six innings in all four of his starts (each of which he earned a win). He also hasn’t walked more than two batters in any start this year. Pirates’ starters as a whole have been great this season (third in the National League in ERA heading into Wednesday night’s game), and Cole headlines this staff. He leads Pirates’ starters in innings pitched, wins, ERA, and strikeouts, and is tied for the lead in quality starts. This is what the team wanted and expected heading into this season, and this is what the team is getting so far.

Cole will have some stiff competition, however, if he plans on competing for the National League Cy Young this season. Namely, Clayton Kershaw will most likely pace the senior circuit, barring an injury. However, Cole could secure Cy Young votes this season if he pitches to his potential. He currently ranks sixth in the NL in ERA (fifth if you don’t count Adam Wainwright, who will miss the rest of the season with an Achilles injury), and those ahead of him include Max Scherzer, Zack Greinke, and Carlos Martinez, all of whom should continue their early success for the rest of the season. He’s also ninth in innings pitched, sixth in strikeouts, tied for first in games started, eleventh in WHIP, and tied for first in wins among NL pitchers. These add up to a formula for a top ten finish in the NL Cy Young voting if these trends continues.

One big reason to believe that Cole’s success this season might be for real is his consistency. Outside of his first start of the season in which he gave up three runs, Cole hasn’t given up more than one earned run and hasn’t pitched less than six innings in all four of his starts…

Gerrit Cole has the potential, and the early success this year, to compete for a top ten finish in National League Cy Young voting this season. He may not have the ability to pass by Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke (who is essentially pitching in a contract year), Max Scherzer (entering the first year of a big deal), or Johnny Cueto (also in a contract year), but he has the raw talent, drive, and proven ability to at least compete to be called a top ten pitcher in the National League this season.

Next: Pittsburgh Pirates, Andrew McCutchen top Chicago Cubs in series finale

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