Friday, July 11, 2008

This is Gerrit Cole

For those of you with an insatiable appetite for all things prospects/draft-related, here is some great dish from the talented Alex Eisenberg at The Hardball Times. For those less tuned in to the draft, Cole was the first round pick of the Yanks at #28 overall. He slid thiat low due to both "signability concerns" as well as "makeup concerns" and "mechanics". I'll skip most of that stuff and just point out a few things that Alex noted:

My initial thought on Cole was this: If Justin Smoak was the draft's best pick, Cole was a very close second. Cole profiles as a potential top-of-the-rotation starter, and to get a player of that sort with the 28th pick in the draft is a coup for the Yankees.


Cole has the best raw stuff of any pitcher in this draft.

Fastball - He has two fastballs: a four-seamer, which comes in between 95-97 with plenty of movement, and a two-seamer, which he throws between 91-93 and which has a great deal of sink to generate a lot of ground balls. Both profile as plus pitches, though I like the four-seamer a little more because of its better velocity and movement.

Curveball - This pitch comes in on a similar plane as his two-seam fastball, only about 17 mph slower. The pitch looks faster than the radar gun would indicate, and it has a late-breaking action, though the break isn't as big as that of other power curves.

Change-up - This pitch has good fading action, and once again it is difficult to discern from a fastball (this time, his two-seamer).

Quickly about his mechanics:
So we have a pitcher with tremendous stuff but some questionable mechanics. How much should he change mechanically, if at all? That's up to the New York player development team and Cole himself. Every pitcher has a wind-up that works for him. You must also look at the reputation of the organization in terms of the success they've had in changing a pitcher's mechanics. With Joba, the Yankees did quite well; with Phil Hughes, not so much.

The title of the Hughes article at the link is "
If It Ain't Broke." The same concept applies to Cole: Why fix something that ain't broke? The answer is, They shouldn't. For now, the focus should be on simply letting Cole pitch. If needed, tweak his mechanics to make his current mechanics more efficient (such as shortening his arm action just a little bit, which I think would help solve a couple other problems as well). But let him pitch.

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