Jaffe: Gerrit Cole and the spotty careers of pitchers drafted No. 1 overall

From SABR member Jay Jaffe at SI’s The Strike Zone on June 11, 2013:

On Tuesday night, the Pirates will take the wraps off Gerrit Cole, the 22-year-old righty whom they made the overall number one pick of the draft in 2011 out of UCLA. With Wandy Rodriguez having exited last Wednesday’s start after recording just one out due to tightness in his forearm, the Bucs need a spot starter, and they’ve chosen this opportunity to take their first look at a pitcher they planned to recall at some point this summer to augment their rotation.

The last time we saw a pitcher chosen first overall make his major league debut, it was Stephen Strasburg, and this was the result:


Cole almost certainly won’t match that scintillating debut, but the scouting consensus is that he has the ingredients to join Strasburg as a top-of-the rotation starter. He’s 6-foot-4, 240 pounds, athletic, with good mechanics, a fastball that sits at 94-95 mph and can touch 98, a sharp slider that rates as a second plus-plus pitch and a changeup that shows signs of becoming a plus pitch, though it’s been inconsistent so far.

He’s far from a finished product, however.

Read the full article here: http://mlb.si.com/2013/06/11/gerrit-cole-and-the-spotty-careers-of-pitchers-drafted-first-overall/

Originally published: June 11, 2013. Last Updated: June 11, 2013.