Player: Gerrit Cole
Gerrit Cole was born on September 8th, 1990 in Newport, California. As a high school ball player at Orange Lutheran, he began his career with a bang. Pitching on the JV squad he did not yield a single run in 45 innings pitched.
He began to collect massive amounts of hype in his junior year as his fastball reached 94 mph. In fact, this attention was so widespread that nearly 50 scouts showed up to his first game in his senior season. This attention was well merited as he finished his final high school season with a .47 ERA, and 121 Ks in 75 IP.
As an 18-year-old, he was ranked at the 17th best prospect coming into the 2008 draft. The Yankees selected him at the 28th spot in the draft and was going to be offered a 4 million signing bonus. However, he did not negotiate with the team, as he was determined to pitch for UCLA.
His decision appeared to be a mistake as he never dominated the college baseball scene. He never pitched below a 3.30 ERA, but did have a lot of strikeouts, collecting 104, 153, and 119Ks.
Despite this relative lack of success, he was drafted as the number one overall pick in 2011 by the Pirates. Due to signing late, he missed pitching in the minors after being signed, but did pitch in the Arizona Fall League. In 2012 he started out in Advanced A was promoted to AA by mid season and began 2013 in AAA.
Prior to this season he was ranked as the 9th best prospect and he will make his MLB Debut on Tuesday.
6’4, 190 lbs. Strong base, wide shoulders. Body type of power pitcher. He pushes off the mound well, reducing the “effort” needed to throw each pitch. This will allow him to be a work-horse type and will allow to maintain high velocity throughout the game.
Fastball High- 100 AVG- 95-96
Ball explodes from the hand, allowing him to blow by hitters on a regular basis. Very good at throwing the high cheese. He does feature a two-seamer that has some sink.
As good as his fastball as it has a nasty bite to it. When kept down in the zone it appears to be un-hittable.
Decent third pitch as it acts as a change of pace type. Speed differential is key with this pitch.
From all of the scouting reports that I have read about Cole, there appear to be some glaring weaknesses. While all of them agree that his stuff on its own has the ability to make him a bonafide ace, his control, both of his pitches and of himself, may prevent him from reaching his ceiling. He is emotional on the mound and reacts very poorly to errors in the field and calls that he does not agree with. One scout did note that he seemed to pitch better when he got angry, however that is anecdotal information, making it difficult to be identified as legitimate.
He does appear to be more of a thrower and is reluctant to pitch on the inside. As an amateur and minor leaguer, he was able to get away with this due to his movement and velocity. It will be interesting to see how major league hitters are able to size him up. Also watch for umpires to not tolerate a young, emotional, top prospect.