Gerrit Cole is off to a great start this season. It’s the kind of start that makes you hope he is finally turning into the top of the rotation starter that he was expected to become when taken with the first overall pick in 2011. Cole has a 1.76 ERA in 30.2 innings, with a 10.3 K/9 and a 2.4 BB/9. Those numbers were good enough for the right-hander to be named the National League Pitcher of the Month for the month of April.
The amazing thing here (and also sad thing) is that Cole is the first Pirates pitcher to win a Pitcher of the Month award since Randy Tomlin in June 1992. Cole becomes the sixth Pirates pitcher to win the honors. Doug Drabek received the honors three times, while Tomlin, Kent Tekulve, John Candelaria, and Rick Rhoden all won it once.
Cole finished fifth among qualified NL pitchers in ERA (1.76) and ninth in K/9 (10.3). He was the only NL starter with a K/9 over 10 and an ERA under 2. The numbers for Cole look more impressive when you add in his last five starts of the 2014 season. All combined, he has a 2.40 ERA in 63.2 innings, along with a 10.7 K/9 and a 1.6 BB/9. His 2.22 xFIP suggests this is no fluke. That’s a third of a season, and Cole is looking like a legitimate ace during that time period.