Gerrit Cole Getting More Strasburg Comparisons

One scout in the AFL said that Cole's fastball is better than Stephen Strasburg's.

Most of the hype coming out of the Arizona Fall League for Pittsburgh Pirates prospects has been dominated by Robbie Grossman.  The outfield prospect is either leading, or is in the top five of every offensive category, posting a .375/.474/.615 line in 96 at-bats.  However, the latest talk has been focused on Gerrit Cole, who is also impressing scouts in the AFL.

Danny Knobler of CBS Sports has a very positive update on Cole, quoting a scout as saying that Cole’s fastball was better than Stephen Strasburg’s.  The scout, who was not in the Pirates’ organization, also mentioned that Cole’s fastball was as live as he had seen, dating back to Nolan Ryan, and that Cole could have gotten major league hitters out on that day.

We heard a lot of Cole/Strasburg comparisons earlier in the year, mostly coming from Keith Law.  The basis of those comparisons seemed to be fastball related, with Cole hitting 100-101 MPH, and sitting 98 MPH in the 8th and 9th innings after 100+ pitches.  Cole also has a plus slider and a changeup that has graded as a plus pitch at times, which only adds to his arsenal.

The big question that has been asked ever since Cole signed his $8 M deal with the Pirates is: when will he arrive in the majors.  It wouldn’t be surprising to see Cole start out in high-A next year, if only to avoid the cold April in Altoona.  I’d expect to see him in Altoona by June.  From there the question comes up again: how soon until he is in the majors?

Cole has great stuff, although he could use some work polishing up his pitches.  He had some issues elevating his fastball during his junior year, which made his stuff hittable.  The Pirates have been working with him, making a few minor changes to get the ball down.  Those changes have also added some movement to his fastball.  His changeup rated as a plus pitch throughout the 2011 season at UCLA, although it was inconsistent at times, and could use some work.

I’ve always pegged Cole for a June 2013 debut, giving him plenty of time to work on his pitches.  But what if he is absolutely dominant to start the season?  Could we see him up in 2012?  The playing time in the Arizona Fall League certainly helps his progression, but I would still be surprised if he arrives in 2012.  Unless the Pirates are competitive again this July, I don’t see him arriving that quickly, mostly because I don’t see the Pirates calling him up for the final months of a losing season.  Whether they keep him down in AAA for two months in 2013 to avoid Super Two status is another question.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

Arizona Fall League Recap 11/2

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  • master

    uh when did bauer make his major league debut

    • white angus

      i was thinking the same thing.  i cant find one stat site that has any numbers for Bauer at all.

      even if he did, its because he signed a major league contract.  Cole, did not.

      • Tim Williams

        My mistake. I thought I saw someone talking about how Bauer got a call up in September. That’s all anyone was talking about around the time he was drafted/signed, so it didn’t surprise me to hear this. I guess he only made it as far as AA.

        • Lee Young

          Tim……’re allowed to make a mistake every once in awhile. Just don’t make the mistake of making too many mistakes!!!!

          :)  :)  :)

  • Ian Rothermund

    is that a ‘stache Cole has in that picture?  I think it is.  I like the comparisons to Strasburg, that should never be taken as a negative.  However, where I give points to Cole over Strasburg, are in his mechanics.  Maybe Cole comes a little more across the body due to the lower arm slot, but he doesn’t look like a walking elbow ready to explode.

  • Lee Young

    I can’t wait to see Cole here in Harrisburg in an Altoona uni. I wonder if they’ll sellout. I know I’m gonna try to be there.


  • F Lang

    I would guess that if he fixes the mechanical issues causing him to be up in the zone he will be too good to keep in AAA for 2 months in 2013, so he will start 2013 in the rotation with Taillon being the guy pitching at AAA until June…but that is more my hope than anything. As we have seen with so many prospects in the past, so much can happen to slow guys down. I can’t wait to see what Grossman does at AA. It appears he is learning exponentially now. First it was more walks, less K’s, then the average and doubles increased, now the power is coming…all of this in 7 months or so. If he can stay on the same curve, he could be in AAA by June 2012.

  • Anonymous

    I’m biased so I won’t comment about Cole but GROSSMAN! I’ve been watching him in the AFL and what a beast! He is very exciting to watch. A little sluggish on some days getting to the ball in Right or a run to second but he has started almost every game, so I get it. Everytime he comes to bat I don’t want to blink for fear of missing a jack.

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