Sep 30, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Gerrit Cole was the model of consistency for the Pirates last season. He finished the year with a 19-8 record and a 2.60 ERA. The first-time all-star lead the Pirates in innings pitched (208.0), ERA (2.60), and wins (19), while being second on the team in strikeouts with 202.
Ever since being drafted first overall at the 2011 First Year Player Draft, Cole has been expected to come up and be the ace of the Pittsburgh Pirates staff. Well, he has done just that winning 10 or more games in each of his first three seasons with the team.
Cole has also been asked to come up big in the playoffs the last three seasons, having to face the likes of Jake Arietta and Adam Wainwright. Although it has not been very successful for Cole, he has gained playoff experience that he can use going forward.
A big part of the recent success of the Pirates organization, Cole was nothing more than consistent last season. Out of his 32 starts, he gave up four or more earned runs only 3 times giving him 29 quality starts.
This has been a pattern for his entire career. In his three seasons he has made 73 starts for the Pirates and has given up four or more earned runs only 10 times giving him 63 career quality starts. He has been able to keep the Pirates in almost every ball game that he is on the mound.
In 2016, Cole will be asked again to be the ace of this rotation. Look for Cole to lead the team again in most pitching categories. My predictions for Cole are a 20-7 record with a 2.85 ERA. The ERA might jump a little but make no mistake Cole will be the leader of the Pirates starting rotation once again this season.
Next: Francisco Liriano