Scouting Report, Gerrit Cole

With the news that Gerrit Cole will make his Major League debut for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday, we take a look at his scouting report in order to determine if he is ready for the jump to the Majors. Cole was the 1st overall pick in the 2011 Amateur Draft and after just over one full season in professional baseball, he will make his Major League Debut. The big right-hander is still just 22 years old and stands 6’4”. In 2012, his first full professional season, Cole pitched across three levels including High Single-A, Double-A and Triple-A. Cole dominated High Single-A with a 2.55 ERA and a 9.3 K/9 through 13 starts. After a promotion to Double-A, he continued his dominance with a 2.90 ERA and a 9.2 K/9 through 12 starts. The Pirates rewarded his strong performance with a promotion to Triple-A, in which he received just one start, but earned the victory with 7 strikeouts in 6 innings. Cole began the 2013 season in Triple-A and has been effective, but not dominant. His ERA this season is 2.91, but his K/9 has dropped to just 6.22 and his BB/9 has spiked to 3.71, which suggests he is not missing as many bats. Cole throws a 4-seam fastball, slider and change-up. Cole’s fastball sits in the mid-to-upper 90’s and he can easily top 100 mph. He does not have great command of his fastball, but he can survive mistakes in location because of the velocity. The fastball has good life when he keeps it low in the zone and does not overthrow it. Cole’s slider is easily his best out pitch, which features great movement on two planes and tremendous movement to his glove side. He throws his slider very hard, as it usually sits in the upper 80’s. His fastball and slider are already plus pitches, but his change-up is not developed enough to even be considered an average pitch. He throws his change-up in the low-to-mid 80’s, which is a tremendous velocity differential. Cole really struggles to keep the change-up down in the strike zone. The pitch has slight arm-side sink, but it is not enough to miss bats when he misses up in the zone. Cole has a smooth delivery that generates a lot of velocity from his lower half. He is able to get over his front side well, which allows him to get good extension. He takes his arm slightly behind his back, and he is unable to get his arm back into position by foot strike. The other concerning part of his delivery is that he pulls his head off-center, which puts a lot more strain on his arm, especially with his low ¾ arm slot. Right now, Cole possesses two plus pitches, but needs to improve his command in order to reach his potential as a #1 starter. I do not see him as a front of the rotation starter unless he develops an average third pitch and improves his fastball command. Until he makes these adjustments, Cole’s ceiling will remain as a mid-rotation starter.

Anthony Cacchione

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