Top

Underrated Players: Gerrit Cole

25 year old Gerrit Cole is already one of the league's most dominant starters, and his career is just getting started. Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
25 year old Gerrit Cole is already one of the league's most dominant starters, and his career is just getting started.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates have a roster full of under-appreciated players, but the one who perhaps is overlooked the most happens to be one of the best pitchers in the game. At 24 years old, the Pirates ace Gerrit Cole had a 19 win season in 2015, with an overall record of 19-8 along with a 2.60 E.R.A. So where does Cole stack up against the rest of the league? In 2015 he was tied for 3rd in wins (Second in NL), 7th in E.R.A. (Fifth in NL), 10th in WAR with a 4.53 (8th in NL), 16th in innings pitched with 208 (Seventh in NL), 17th in strikeouts with 202 (Tenth in NL), 12th in the NL in opponent batting average at .239, 15th in WHIP with a 1.09 (Eighth in NL), 14th in the NL in K/9 with an 8.74, 15th in BB/9 with a 1.90 (Eleventh in NL), and was 13th with a 4.59 strikeout to walk ratio (Ninth in NL). Where is the appreciation for what Cole brings to the table? It's not often you have a guy on your staff give you 200+, 200+ strikeouts, and a sub three E.R.A. Everybody raves about the Chicago White Sox Chris Sale, but outside of strikeout numbers Cole had a far better year last season. Cole beat sale in E.R.A., gave up less runs, homeruns, and hits, and demolished him in WAR (Sale at 3.29 was 30th among pitchers). Let's up the competition a little! Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals is one of the top five starters in the game, but Cole had a better E.R.A., gave up less runs and homeruns, and had more wins. Let's compare him to another star, the Seattle Mariners Felix Hernandez, who had a down year but "King Felix" is "King Felix". Cole had more innings pitched, a lower E.R.A., gave up less homeruns and runs, less walks, more strikeouts, better WHIP, and just edged him out in WAR (Hernandez 4.4.). Notice a trend with the less homeruns? That's because Cole was tied for fewest homeruns allowed among starters with Mike Pelfrey (30 starts), and A.J. Burnett (26 starts). Adding onto that, Cole was tenth in baseball in opponents slugging percentage, ahead of big names like Madison Bumgarner, Matt Harvey, David Price, Max Scherzer, Shelby Miller, Cole Hamels, and Chris Sale among others. While some of the numbers I have used to prove the value of Cole may not be the biggest difference makers, they begin to add up. Let's not forget that Gerrit Cole is going into his age 25 season and likely has not yet reached his peak. We truly are looking at one of the most dominant pitchers in the game now, and for years to come. 

Load