Top 10 Pittsburgh Pirates of the first half

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Jul 10, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

#2 – Gerrit Cole

It might be safe to say that Gerrit Cole has finally ascended to become the ace that everybody envisioned him being when he was taken with the first overall selection in the 2011 draft. What stands out to many people this season are his major league-leading 13 wins. While many traditional-minded fans still value wins, they aren’t truly that important when evaluating a pitcher. However, his 13 wins are still symbolic of the dominance he’s shown for much of the season.

There’s a reason Cole was most likely considered to start the All-Star team for the National League. His fiery demeanor, along with the velocity on his pitches, make him an exciting pitcher to watch on the national stage. He still made the All-Star team, and has easily had the best season of his short major league career to date. He holds an ERA of 2.30 and a WHIP of 1.12, both career bests, and his WAR of 2.7 more than doubles what he put up last season. He also has thrown 116 strikeouts to just 28 walks, and has often pitched deep into games. In fact, he’s only pitched less than five innings once this season.

It was difficult to not rank Cole as the best player to date for the Pirates this season. Maybe I still feel that position players impact the game more on a daily basis, but that’s not to take away from how Cole’s performed in 2015. It was also difficult, however, to rank Cole above Burnett. Cole’s consistency spoke volumes to me, and he;s been slightly more consistent than Burnett this year. He would be a very tough pitcher for any offense to face come playoff time.

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