Gerrit Cole, the first overall pick in the 2011 draft, made his pro debut tonight for the Bradenton Marauders. The start was everything you’d want to see from the top pitching prospect. He went four innings, allowing one run on four hits, with a walk and seven strikeouts. Cole finished with an unofficial 63 pitches, Pirates Prospects has learned, which is similar to his final Spring Training start, which saw him throw 65 pitches.
The right-hander led off his career by giving up a double. He followed that with two strikeouts and a ground out to first base to get out of the inning. Cole’s second frame started off in the same way, with a leadoff double. After a ground out, Cole gave up an RBI single for his only run of the day. Another strikeout and another ground out got him out of the inning.
Cole led off the third with a walk, then followed it up with a ground out and two more strikeouts. His final inning saw two more strikeouts, and another ground out. He also gave up his third double of the game, and allowed the runner to advance to third on a wild pitch before striking out the final two batters.
Cole’s fastball was hitting 97 MPH on several occasions, and he also flashed a 91 MPH changeup for one of the strikeouts. Of his 12 outs, seven were strikeouts and the other five were ground outs.