Today is Gerrit Cole’s Major League Debut. As he walked out to do his warm-up session for his first career start, they said it best on MLB Tonight (on MLB Network). “This is how they’re supposed to look”.
Here’s the scouting report from Baseball Prospectus on the former #1 overall pick:
Cole fits the physical profile of a workhorse frontline starter, standing 6-foot-4 and checking in at 240 pounds. He is a solid athlete with excellent strength in both his upper and lower body. His delivery is clean and repeatable, and he does a good job of making adjustments to his mechanics on the fly. His ability to consistently repeat his mechanics gives him a plus command profile long term and should help his entire arsenal play up a bit. Cole’s fastball has sat in the 94-95 mph range this season and reached as high as 98 mph when he needs a little extra. The heater shows excellent movement in addition to its plus-plus velocity, making it a true swing-and-miss pitch that can completely dominate hitters.
Cole’s slider is a second plus-plus pitch with good deception, tight spin, and extremely sharp, darting movement thrown in the mid-80s and peaking at 89-90 mph. When I saw him earlier this season, Cole’s fastball and slider were strong enough on their own for him to enjoy sustained success in the majors. With work, his changeup could also become a plus pitch, though it has been inconsistent so far this year.
The biggest challenge Cole faces is maintaining his intensity from one pitch, hitter, and inning to the next. He has looked bored at times in Triple-A, causing apparent lapses in focus and occasionally resulting in his being hit hard. When he is dialed in, though, Cole can be completely unhittable. His raw stuff is that of a frontline starter, and his physicality matches that projection. Now he just needs the mental side of his game to catch up to the rest.
I know I’ve looked forward to watching this start since his call-up was announced last week. He’s one of the premiere young arms in the game and he’s on a team that is surprisingly on the rise. I hope this works out well for both Cole and the Pirates because if the Pirates are relevant again I happen to believe it’s good for the game.