Pittsburgh Pirates 2013 Top Prospects: #1 – Gerrit Cole
The Pirates Prospects 2013 Prospect Guide is now on sale. The book features over 250 prospect reports, the 2013 top 50 prospects, and the most comprehensive coverage of the Pirates’ farm system that you can find. While the top 50 prospects are exclusive to the book, we will be releasing the top 20 prospects over the next few weeks. Be sure to purchase your copy of the book on the products page of the site.
To recap the countdown so far:
20. Jin-De Jhang, C
18. Vic Black, RHP
13. Tony Sanchez, C
11. Clay Holmes, RHP
We conclude the countdown with the number 1 prospect, Gerrit Cole.
1. Gerrit Cole, RHP
Cole made his pro debut in 2012, and reached Triple-A by the end of his first full season. The first overall pick from the 2011 draft came as advertised. He featured an upper 90s fastball which sat 96-98 MPH and touched triple digits frequently. He paired the pitch with a plus slider and a plus changeup. Both pitches work in the upper 80s, and the slider can reach as high as 92 MPH. Cole also throws a two-seam fastball with a lot of movement. That pitch sits in the lower 90s. Finally, he throws a curveball in the low 80s, with the pitch acting like a slurve.
All of Cole’s pitches have movement, and he’s comfortable throwing any of them in any count. In college he dealt with some issues leaving his pitches up in the zone, which led to him getting hit more than he should. He worked on fixing those issues before the 2012 season, making some minor changes which also gave his pitches more life. Looking at the HR/9 and BAA numbers, the adjustments seem to have worked.
The right-hander did struggle during his first few starts at each level. He struggled in his first four starts in Bradenton, before firing off nine impressive outings in a row. After being promoted to Altoona he had a few sub-par outings, which were snapped by six shutout innings on July 31st. The right-hander went on to put up strong numbers in August, and was promoted to Indianapolis at the end of the year.
Cole probably didn’t deserve the promotion, since his final two starts in Altoona resulted in ten walks in 11 innings. He didn’t see those control issues in Triple-A, but was hammered in his second start, giving up eight earned runs on nine hits in two innings in the International League playoffs. He didn’t look deserving of the promotion, which looked like a move aimed at getting him a taste of the next level, and more innings at the end of the year.
The top prospect should start the 2013 season in Indianapolis, and is expected to arrive in Pittsburgh by mid-season. With his arsenal of pitches and his build, Cole has the potential to be a true ace. He’s rated as one of the top prospects in all of baseball, and should show why in 2013.