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BP Top Prospects: Pirates

Minors : : General
Jason Parks        
Published: Monday, December 10, 2012

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State of the Farm:  “Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting. Little darling, it seems like years since it's been clear. Here comes the sun. Here comes the sun, and I say it's all right.”

Prospect rankings primer

The Top Ten

  1. RHP Gerrit Cole
  2. RHP Jameson Taillon
  3. CF Gregory Polanco
  4. RHP Luis Heredia
  5. IF/LF Alen Hanson
  6. OF Josh Bell
  7. Wyatt Mathisen
  8. RHP Tyler Glasnow
  9. RHP Nick Kingham
  10. OF Barrett Barnes

1. Gerrit Cole

Position: RHP
DOB: 09/08/1990
Height/Weight: 6’4’’ 220 lbs.
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2011 draft, University of California (Los Angeles, CA)
2012 Stats: 2.55 ERA (67 IP, 53 H, 69 K, 21 BB) at High-A Bradenton; 2.90 ERA (59 IP, 54 H, 60  K, 23 BB) at Double-A Altoona; 4.50 ERA (6 IP, 6 H, 7 K, 1 BB) at Triple-A Indianapolis
The Tools: 8 FB; 7 SL; 6+ CH

What Happened in 2012: Making his professional debut, Cole climbed three levels, finishing the season in Triple-A and putting himself in a position to reach the majors early in the 2013 season.

Strengths: Elite arm strength; classic power profile; clean/athletic delivery; good mechanics; fastball has elite velocity; works mid-upper 90s; touches triple-digits; explosive offering; slider is easy 7; shows big velocity (upper-80s) and sharp, late tilt; changeup flashes 7 and works easy plus; good deception from fastball; late action to the arm-side; top-of-the-rotation stuff/major-league body; competitor.

Weaknesses: Command can get loose; grades in the fringe-average range at present; loses fastball movement up in the zone; tendency to cast changeup with slower arm speed; has yet to dominate despite three well above-average offerings.

Overall Future Potential: High 7; no. 1 starter at the major-league level

Explanation of Risk: Moderate risk; sound mechanical profile and major-league ready; still needs refinement to reach extreme ceiling.

Fantasy Future: Could develop into premier starter; 20-game winner; perennial Cy Young award candidate.

The Year Ahead: Cole is ready for the ultimate test, and his arsenal is more than robust enough for success right out of the gate. His command needs to be refined, as does his changeup and arsenal utility (sequence), but not many arms in baseball can brag on three well above-average offerings and a prototypical body used to deliver that arsenal. Adjustment is the name of the game in the big leagues, as high-level hitters can hit high-level pitching, so Cole will need to learn to pitch with touch as well as torch. The total package could be elite, the rare no. 1 starter that every team in baseball covets, yet only a few are lucky enough to control.

Major league ETA: 2013

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