Gerrit Cole- Pittsburg Pirates
The Orange County product has some experience pitching in La La Land. He went to high school at Orange Lutheran and then pitched at UCLA for three years before going number one overall in the 2011 draft. The 26-year-old was on the verge of breaking out and becoming a full-fledged ace last season before injuries limited his season and affected his performance. Nonetheless, Gerrit Cole profiles as a true frontline arm.
Gerrit Cole is a hard thrower, averaging 96.1 mph with his four-seam fastball. He mixes in a two-seamer, an excellent slider, a knuckle-curve, and a changeup, so he has variety in his arsenal which helps in keeping hitters off balance.
This season, Cole has a 3.65 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. Now those don’t scream ace-level, but like a lot of things, you must look at them in context. During his first nine starts of the season, Cole had a 2.84 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 57 innings. He just ran into trouble over his past two starts, but there’s no doubt that he will right the ship.
For his career, he has a 3.27 ERA (3.13 FIP), 1.20 WHIP, and has been solid at missing bats (8.3 K/9). The Pittsburg Pirates sit last in the NL Central and may look to sell off their more valuable pieces to jump-start a rebuild, and Cole is the name everyone is looking at.
He is young, talented, and is under team control through the 2019 season. In 2015, his best season yet, he threw 208 innings and posted a 2.60 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, made his only All-Star Team, and finished fourth in Cy Young voting. All this at the age of 24, so we know how good he can be.
2015 is more like the pitcher Gerrit Cole will resemble once he starts to settle in again, so it will cost a lot to get him. He is still young enough where giving up a package quality prospects would be bearable.
Cole is busy pitching with the burden knowing he can’t allow a single run because he has one of the worst offenses supporting him. Coming to LA would allow him to pitch more freely, especially when he doesn’t have to be the guy in the rotation. He’d form a formidable trio with Kershaw and Wood. The red flag with him would be his health as he missed time during both 2014 and 2016 but he’s a risk worth taking.