Gerrit Cole has been pitching like an ace the last few starts. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

Gerrit Cole has always projected as the future ace of the Pittsburgh Pirates. That future could be sooner than expected.

Tonight Cole had another dominant start, which was his third straight outing where he posted a high strikeout total. This time Cole struck out 12 in 6 innings, which is a remarkable total. That gives him 28 strikeouts in 20 innings over his last three starts. He had 29 strikeouts in 35.2 innings in his six starts before that.

It's important to keep perspective about the opponents Cole was facing. The Padres have the seventh highest strikeout rate in the majors at 21.1%. By comparison, the Pirates offense strikes out 21.9%, and we've seen how bad the Pirates have been with ...

To continue reading the rest of this article, subscribe to Pirates Prospects. Subscribers get access to every article on the site, along with all of our exclusive live coverage of the Pirates' minor league system, all for a very low monthly or yearly rate.

If you're already a member, you can log in below. If you think you're receiving this message in error, please e-mail tim@piratesprospects.com.