Fuzzy_Slippers

Gerrit Cole 2018 Outlook

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1 minute ago, BMcP said:

Lol!  I think I understand what you’re getting at - in other words, he’s a good pitcher on an awesome team.

 

He is the #2 target on my list for an SP. I will be in the running for one of the top 5 P, but he is my #1 SP2. 

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Gerrit Cole looks terrific today.  As advertised, he's not relying as much on his fastball (which just touched 97 in the 5th inning) and is mixing in his curve and slider nicely.

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Looks like the ace many of us predicted. His group of haters heading into this year was puzzling. He always had the stuff.

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We will see if he actually puts things together this year. Need to see it for at least a few starts 

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What a debut for Cole today.  It brought back memories of his great 2015 season.  Those two innings where he struck out the side were something else (especially the first one in the 5th).

 

After the last two seasons being so bad by his standards and being hard to watch him unravel on the mound, it was nice to see him have such a good spring.  I was unfortunately off the Cole Train before the trade and spring training, but it felt good being back aboard and watch him decimate the Rangers.  If today was any indication, the 2015 Gerrit Cole might be back thanks to the change of scenery to a great team.

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4 hours ago, ST. STEVEN said:

Looks like the ace many of us predicted. His group of haters heading into this year was puzzling. He always had the stuff.

 

I can understand why.  Agree he has the stuff, but he hasn't been anything special the past two seasons.  He needs to prove he can get back to 2015 form, today was a step in that direction.

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Proceed with caution. If you've seen his splits the last few years, he'll show brilliance in some stretches and then there are other stretches where he will single handedly destroy your ratios. When he's good, he's extremely good. But when he's not pitching like an ace, his numbers make you wonder why he even has a rotation spot.

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There's been plenty of material written on a potential change in pitching mix for Cole during the offseason:

https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-astros-might-be-the-perfect-team-for-gerrit-cole/

https://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/utilizing-changes-in-pitch-mix/

 

Now we have some data - small sample, yes, but encouraging nonetheless:

Slider Usage: 2017-17.2%, 2018-24.5%

Curveball Usage: 2017-12.2% , 2018-16.7%

Fastball Usage (do not have data yet distinguishing 4-seamer from Sinker): 2017-60.1%, 2018-52.0%

 

All this has resulted in insane contact rates:

Swinging Strike: 2017-9.5%, 2018-20.6%

Z-Contact: 2017-85.5%, 2018-58.1%

O-Contact: 2017-66.5%, 2018-42.9%

Contact: 2017-79.5%, 2018-53.3%

 

Obviously this is just one game, but it looks like the potential is there for a monster season with this new pitch mix.

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I still think it is ridiculous that the ‘stros got this guy for so little.

 

 I am speaking moreso from a leaguewide competitive balance perspective since the players Pitt got were so low on the Astros’ totem pole of talent, even if technically speaking it was the best haul that the marketplace had to offer.

 

Still, I wish Pitt had kept its cards closer to the vest that they were in “must sell” mode with Cole and pushed hard for a Meadows/Tucker switcharoo as the linchpin, that would have made me feel better.

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While they still should have gotten more, between the two trades they made, at least they got one or two Major League caliber players for Cole.  Moran could be a pretty good get for Pittsburgh, but anyways, back to Cole...

 

I can understand being a little skeptical for now since his last two seasons were pretty disappointing, but it's hard not to get excited when he goes out and has one of his best games of his career in his debut.  Between getting hurt in 2016 and whatever you want to call last season, I think the last two seasons were not the real Gerrit Cole.  I've owned him for several seasons, and obviously the last two were hard to watch, but he's not usually somebody that is inconsistent like he was (especially last season).

 

He came close to doubling his career total for HR's allowed last season, which is definitely an indication that something about last season was just plain off.  Granted he didn't pitch full seasons in his first two years in the Majors, but still, last season screams out "anomaly".  If he had went out and pitched poorly yesterday, then maybe I'd feel a little differently, but instead he put up career high numbers in multiple categories.  He also did it with a different pitch mix, which is another reason to think this is legit.

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Is it really all about pitch mix though? I'm thinking of buying but I just have a hard time believing that throwing the fastball less will solve all or most of the problems. His fastball is fast but still too straight. He doesn't have a dominant pitch vs LHBs. He has a better offense but now plays in a bandbox and doesn't have to face pitchers batting.

 

I think if a new pitch or newfound d elite command/control were the reason I'd be more of a believer. But hiding his fastball seems too obvious and easy of a change to make. If it were that simple, I have to believe it would have been tried. I'm more inclined to believe in a guy like Dylan Bundy, who has two plus off speed pitches, and a fastball that has velocity but just needs better location.

 

 

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37 minutes ago, UberRebel said:

Is it really all about pitch mix though? I'm thinking of buying but I just have a hard time believing that throwing the fastball less will solve all or most of the problems. His fastball is fast but still too straight. He doesn't have a dominant pitch vs LHBs. He has a better offense but now plays in a bandbox and doesn't have to face pitchers batting.

 

I think if a new pitch or newfound d elite command/control were the reason I'd be more of a believer. But hiding his fastball seems too obvious and easy of a change to make. If it were that simple, I have to believe it would have been tried. I'm more inclined to believe in a guy like Dylan Bundy, who has two plus off speed pitches, and a fastball that has velocity but just needs better location.

 

 

I'm no expert pitcher or pitching coach, but I doubt it's all about the pitch mix.  That's probably just a piece of the puzzle, but it can make a bigger difference than you may think.  If you throw your fastball too much as a starter, no matter how good it is, people will hit it eventually.  He has other solid pitches, so mixing them up better would keep hitters off balance more often than especially last season.

 

His fastball is fairly straight, yes, but it still ends up moving across the plate at times from where it started.  He has three other pitches with movement (including the Changeup).

 

You do make some valid points, like the fact that he plays in one of the best hitters parks in baseball and he doesn't get to face the pitcher much anymore.  Lefties really gave him a lot of problems the last two seasons, but 7 of his K's yesterday were lefties, so we'll see what happens there over more starts.  I'll admit I was concerned about him pitching in Houston at first when they traded for him, but so does Texas and I also still think that last year was more of an anomaly in that area for Cole.  In the end, we'll see how his season goes from here, but nobody can deny that yesterday was one hell of a start to him getting back to his 2015 status.

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2 hours ago, UberRebel said:

Is it really all about pitch mix though? I'm thinking of buying but I just have a hard time believing that throwing the fastball less will solve all or most of the problems. His fastball is fast but still too straight. He doesn't have a dominant pitch vs LHBs. He has a better offense but now plays in a bandbox and doesn't have to face pitchers batting.

 

I think if a new pitch or newfound d elite command/control were the reason I'd be more of a believer. But hiding his fastball seems too obvious and easy of a change to make. If it were that simple, I have to believe it would have been tried. I'm more inclined to believe in a guy like Dylan Bundy, who has two plus off speed pitches, and a fastball that has velocity but just needs better location.

 

 

 

Maybe it's not all about pitch mix, but it's a huge part of pitching. Let's say you had a pitch that was really nasty, gets a lot of swinging strikes in and out of the zone. Wouldn't you want to throw that particular pitch more? Here I will re-post what I posted earlier today in this thread that no one seemed to read:

 

Now we have some data - small sample, yes, but encouraging nonetheless:

Slider Usage: 2017-17.2%, 2018-24.5%

Curveball Usage: 2017-12.2% , 2018-16.7%

Fastball Usage (do not have data yet distinguishing 4-seamer from Sinker): 2017-60.1%, 2018-52.0%

 

All this has resulted in insane contact rates:

Swinging Strike: 2017-9.5%, 2018-20.6%

Z-Contact: 2017-85.5%, 2018-58.1%

O-Contact: 2017-66.5%, 2018-42.9%

Contact: 2017-79.5%, 2018-53.3%

 

It's a small sample but the proof is in the pudding. That new pitch mix has resulted in insane contact rates. Let's see if it continues.

 

Edited by lassetjus

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9 hours ago, UberRebel said:

Is it really all about pitch mix though? I'm thinking of buying but I just have a hard time believing that throwing the fastball less will solve all or most of the problems. His fastball is fast but still too straight. He doesn't have a dominant pitch vs LHBs. He has a better offense but now plays in a bandbox and doesn't have to face pitchers batting.

 

I think if a new pitch or newfound d elite command/control were the reason I'd be more of a believer. But hiding his fastball seems too obvious and easy of a change to make. If it were that simple, I have to believe it would have been tried. I'm more inclined to believe in a guy like Dylan Bundy, who has two plus off speed pitches, and a fastball that has velocity but just needs better location.

 

 

 

This is all assuming that last year's 15.9% HR/FB rate is the "real" Cole and that his previous 4 seasons around 7-8% HR/FB rate were "false".  It might not be all about pitch mix, but more likely a combination of pitch mix and progression towards the mean.  If his horribly woeful terribly flat fastball was so bad then why didn't more people take him yard in the 4 seasons previous to 2017?  I'm not saying pitch mix has nothing to do with it, but maybe last year was the anomaly.  

 

I'm buying just on the fact that everyone has recency bias, and can't remember that the years 2013-2016 happened.  I'll go out on a limb and say that in several years from now, we'll look back at Cole's career numbers and see 2017 as a huge outlier.  

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19 Swinging Strikes tonight according to the announcers.

 

He obviously deserved even 1 run of run support, but can't complain too much when you get back to back 7 inning 11 K games to start the season.

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53 minutes ago, KilloWertz said:

19 Swinging Strikes tonight according to the announcers.

 

He obviously deserved even 1 run of run support, but can't complain too much when you get back to back 7 inning 11 K games to start the season.

 

1 hour ago, beauso79 said:

This guy is going to go SP1 on us this year

 

1 hour ago, beauso79 said:

This guy is going to go SP1 on us this year

 

2 hours ago, verycoolnin said:

Another stellar outing.

 

3 hours ago, beauso79 said:

Can't believe the uptick in K rate from this guy 

 

After 21 swinging strikes the last game, to get 19/20 swinging strikes today, confirms that the 1st game was not a fluke. That pitching mix is really making his fastball more effective and he's getting tons of swing and misses on the slider. We may have a "breakout" on our hands here... hard to say considering he had a 2.60 ERA in 2015, but he has never had this insane strikeout rate before.

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