Archive for the ‘Gerrit Cole’ Category

Pittsburgh Pirates' Cole pitches against Texas Rangers during their MLB interleague baseball game in Arlington

The Pirates made a bold choice when they announced Gerrit Cole as their starter for Game Five of the NLDS in St. Louis. Cole is a rookie and, as such, isn’t a Proven Playoff Performer. A.J. Burnett, the Pirates ace and nominal number one starter, is a Proven Playoff Performer. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, he is “proven” to be “mediocre” when the calender flips to October – Game Two of the 2009 World Series notwithstanding.

Cole isn’t a veteran with dozens of big league starts under his belt, but his a product of the modern baseball development pipeline. It isn’t like the old days, where a kid performed well for his high school team, blowing away future farmers and decent men’s league players. Cole attended a top baseball factory and pitched in the College World Series, pitched in countless showcase games and prospect exhibitions and the Cape Cod league and so on and so forth. He’s pitched under pressure, this isn’t new to him.

What is new is the current edition of Gerrit Cole to the St. Louis Cardinals. They saw him dominant in Game Two of this series, the vastly improved Cole from the top prospect who emerged from the minor leagues this season only to post pedestrian strikeout rates and overall results.

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San Francisco Giants v Pittsburgh Pirates

There isn’t just one way to have a great change piece. Some tumble straight down, some are more about having arm-side fade. Some get grounders, some get whiffs. Some are hard. Some disappear.

But it’s clear that you need to do one of these things to have a good changeup. Given the ubiquity of the slider, there are plenty of pitchers that have been told they need a slider to avoid the dreaded platoon split that might send them to the bullpen. Dan Straily was basically forced to try 17 changeup grips. Justin Masterson told me last week that “he’s tried every single one” and lamented the one grip that worked in 2007 for half a season and then disappeared forever.

So there’s a class of pitchers that are trying to ply their trade with iffy changeups. We want to know, as fantasy players, which ones are likely to succeed.

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Cincinnati Reds v Pittsburgh Pirates

Unless you are a fan of the recently-struggling Cardinals (Baseball’s Best!), it is hard to imagine not enjoying the rise of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Sure, compared to the Pythagorean record or projected true talent, Pittsburgh seems to have been pretty lucky so far. First of all, almost any team that wins their division has some luck. Secondly, are we really going to complain about the Pirates having good luck for once?

In any case, I did not really see them as contenders of any sort this season, and I would guess I was not alone. The Pirates themselves thought they had a chance, given the moves they made to shore up their team over the last year, particularly the starting rotation.

The Pirates primarily have relied neither on big-time draft picks nor big-name free agent signing. Rather, they have put together a staff good enough to contend through shrewd trades and buy-low opportunities. Unless a team is going to get exceptionally lucky with their draft picks or has a huge payroll (not an option for Pittsburgh), this is what they have to do, thus, the Pirates’ rotation is worth examining.

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How it probably felt to Gerrit  Cole

How it probably felt to Gerrit Cole

It was the unstoppable force meeting the immoveable object of prospect hype: Gerrit Cole makes his second-ever big league start against the Dodgers and phenom Yasiel Puig. Cole, with all the polish and pedigree of a first overall college pitcher and Puig, the Cuban import signed after little more than a single workout.

After a whirlwind few weeks in the big leagues, these two young players captured the interest of much of the baseball-watching world. Well, Puig captured the attention of the baseball world while Pirates fans and internet types watched Gerrit Cole closely, wondering when his results would match up with his legendary velocity and stuff.

Meanwhile, Puig seems to succeed in spite of his lack of seasoning and unrefined approach. Might the man who pounds the strike zone best the man who swings without much concern for it?

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San Francisco Giants v Pittsburgh Pirates

Gerrit Cole started for the Pittsburgh Pirates last night at PNC Park. It went swimmingly, as the Pirates beat the San Francisco Giants 8-2 in front of a very enthusiastic crowd. Cole, as you may know, was the first overall pick in the 2011 draft out of UCLA. The Pirates took their time and set the stage for their phenom’s debut.

Cole pitched very well in his first big league start. He showed the big fastball that let him go 1.1 plus the solid slider/curve to keep hitters off balance. His final line was 6.1 innings pitched, seven hits, two earned runs, two runs,two strikeouts and no walks. Not a bad way to kick off a big league career.

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SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game

It’s Gerrit Cole day in Pittsburgh. For those Bucs fans and prospect porn addicts who had hoped this would be some sort of grandiose affair, sorry to disappoint you. The 2011 first overall pick’s Major League debut has a rather ordinary feeling about it as the hour draws nearer.

Cole’s arrival in Pittsburgh is a timely one, though. With Wandy Rodriguez‘s health status currently up in the air, and Cole having already been held down long enough to ensure he’s under team control for an extra year, it’s an opportune moment to run out the franchise’s top prospect. As far as Super Two status is concerned, the 22-year old would accrue a tick over two years of service at the completion of the 2015 season if he were to remain with the club moving forward. At this point, though, it won’t matter much if he can step in and help the 37-26 Pirates.

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