Pittsburgh Pirates 2017 Rum Bunter Staff Predictions: Nick

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Pittsburgh Pirates Cole
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Pittsburgh Pirates Pitcher of the Year

The Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher of the year will be a two-horse race between the two obvious candidates.  Gerrit Cole had health issues in 2016, but if he stays healthy for the 2017 season it will lead to a lot of wins for the Bucs.  As Cole goes so will the Pittsburgh Pirates.  However, Jameson Taillon might be the key to the Pirates making a legitimate push to get back into the playoffs.

With that being said, Jameson Taillon is entering his first full season as an MLB starter.  He will likely face ups and downs as he gets used to the long mental grind of the MLB schedule.  As mature and advanced as Taillon is as a pitcher, he will have bumps in the road, as many young pitchers do.  This is why Gerrit Cole will be the Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher of the year.

Cole has ranked in the top ten in FIP and top 20 in ERA over the last two seasons, including his injury-plagued “down” year of 2016.  Cole really showed what his true potential is in 2015, when he threw 208 innings and had an outstanding ERA of 2.60.  It is hard to say if Cole will provide an ERA that low in 2017, as that is quite impressive.  Nonetheless, if healthy, there is no reason that he will not return to his low 3 ERA and lead the staff once again.