Losing Starling Marte to suspension and Jung Ho Kang to all of his legal issues have been near death blows to the 2017 Pittsburgh Pirates. If the team had even one of the two, let alone both, I truly believe they would be in first place in the National League Central right now. However, the biggest disappointment has been Gerrit Cole.
The Pirate ace has not pitched anything like an ace this season. His struggles have delivered a huge blow to a Pirate rotation that was counting on Cole to help anchor it along with Ivan Nova and Jameson Taillon this season. If Cole was pitching like he is capable of, odds are, the Pirates would be 2 or 3 games closer to first place.
2017 has been by far the worst season of Gerrit Cole’s career. He owns a 4.51 ERA and a 4.55 FIP, both of which are career worst, in 101 2/3 innings pitched. He is averaging 7.61 K/9, which is the second lowest strikeout rate of his career, and his 1.59 HR/9 is by far a career worst.
Gerrit Cole’s biggest issue this season has been the home run ball. He has already allowed 18 home runs after allowing 18 home runs combined the past two seasons. Hell, entering the season he had only allowed 36 in his entire Major League career.
This season Cole’s fastball has gotten hammered like never before, and his slider has not had the bite it has had in past season. Cole is also generating a career low 8.4 percent swinging strike rate.
No matter how you slice it, Gerrit Cole has been terrible this season.