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  1. Thanks Kiley, I can’t figure why the Cole may end up a closer narrative is still out there?

    While at Pirate City did you see Luis Heredia? I would love to hear your take on him.

    Comment by Pirates Hurdles — January 11, 2013 @ 3:13 pm

  2. Damn you Cole.
    You should have signed with us in 2008.

    Comment by TheOneWhoKnocks — January 11, 2013 @ 3:44 pm

  3. I can’t express how happy I am that he didn’t.

    Comment by BSLJeffLong — January 11, 2013 @ 4:29 pm

  4. Good write-up. Cole’s three-pitch arsenal is plenty for a starting pitcher, particularly with the movement on his slider and the velocity difference with the change.

    The change-up is also a very useful pitch against lefties. Looking forward to seeing Cole’s 80 fastball, 70 slider, 70 change-up in the majors by August of 2013.

    Comment by Bucfan — January 11, 2013 @ 4:45 pm

  5. Great piece. Thanks.

    Comment by jdbolick — January 11, 2013 @ 5:04 pm

  6. Us, eh? You work for the Yankees?

    Comment by Todd Fargmann — January 11, 2013 @ 6:06 pm

  7. I doubt he is ever going to have a 70 changeup. BA had that in their handbook for 2012, but they are always extremely optimistic in their projected grades. Its probably better seen as a 60 ceiling with 55ish more likely because its just his third pitch. He has never shown great command and he probably won’t turn into an ace, but his stuff is good enough to become a #2.

    Comment by Debby Downer — January 11, 2013 @ 6:31 pm

  8. Thanks for your valuable insight, Debby.

    Comment by bucn22 — January 11, 2013 @ 7:14 pm

  9. Whew I just saw a low res picture of him and thought it was Matt Cain. Definitely a good body comp(the extra height doesn’t hurt) and I agree whole heartedly on his mechanics. He’ll be a fun pitcher to watch for many years barring any freak incidents.

    Comment by Thinly Chubby — January 11, 2013 @ 7:40 pm

  10. I think Cole will definately have his early struggles, but in time, he’s going to hone his off-speed pitches with most practice. Once/if he can do that, it’s just staying healthy from there.

    I love pitchers like Cole; clean, easy, big fastballs.

    Comment by Alex — January 11, 2013 @ 8:23 pm

  11. You finally caught him. The jig is up.

    Comment by LHomonacionale — January 12, 2013 @ 9:05 am

  12. Has anybody ever seen a definition of what “ace” means versus “#2″? When you define a pitcher as a “#2″ what do you mean? Is Yu Darvish an “ace” or a “#2″? Or is he some other number? What about Zack Grienke? Ace or #2?

    Comment by FeverTree — January 12, 2013 @ 11:11 am

  13. Kinda sound like a Cole hater to me. Pretty much just a bunch of unfounded claims based on personal bias rather than factual observations. Cole’s BB/9 rate of 2.82 in A-Ball and 3.51 in AA certainly show that he’s got good command of his fastball. His final season at UCLA in 2011, he only walked 24 batters in 114.1 IP, good for a 1.89 BB/9 rate. Given that he’s basically averaged a strikeout per inning or better at all levels, I’d say that’s actually above average command for a guy that throws so hard. When you put his numbers up against guys like Bauer(4.54 BB/9), Hultzen(5.45 BB/9), and Wheeler(4.20 BB/9), he certainly looks like he’s got all the makings of a #1 in the bigs. Just as you certainly appear to be a disgruntled Yankees or USC fan that has simply made overstated generalizations that, frankly, are just unfounded.

    Comment by Cliff — January 12, 2013 @ 11:43 am

  14. IMO an ace is a pitcher who can consistently eat 200+ innings while posting elite FIP or ERA. A #2 starter could post similar FIP or ERA as an ace, but potentially can’t stay healthy. Or a #2 could stay healthy but post great FIP or ERA instead of elite. For a good #2 starter, I’m thinking James Shields, Hiroki Kuroda, Jordan Zimmerman, Madison Bumgarner.

    I think Greinke is an ace and Darvish could become an ace if he can reign in his walks. While I think Cole could eat up 200+ innings a year, I’m concerned his BB rate might end up above 3 BB / 9 IP and his lack of true command will prevent him from missing bats at an elite rate. That’s why I think he could become a good #2 starter but not an ace.

    Comment by Debby Downer — January 12, 2013 @ 11:52 am

  15. To Cliff
    Minor league numbers tell only part of the story. We need to project how minor league pitchers will do in the future at the major league level. Cole has posted solid BB numbers and I think he will post solid BB numbers at the major league level, but it won’t be elite. I don’t think Wheeler, Hultzen, or Bauer will become #1 starters. Wheeler has never shown plus control/command and neither has Cole. Hultzen didn’t show a plus fastball last year and his control deteriorated, although he has shown great control/command earlier. I like Cole better than any of the others you mentioned, but I still think he becomes a #2. I think Bundy could become a #1 and Walker has that potential.

    A true #1 is hard to find. They need at least plus control/command to get there, though. Cole flat-out doesn’t have that right now. Its possible his control/command could improve, but I don’t feel as confident it improving as I do with a guy like Taijuan Walker.

    Comment by Debby Downer — January 12, 2013 @ 12:03 pm

  16. I watched Cole pitch several times at AA last season,and I thought that if he modified his delivery to ge more tilt to his fastball he would at least be an excellent #2 ,and possiblty being something like Matt Cain as far as productivity is concerned. As ” Alex ” alluded to,he also needed to work on his off speed pitches as there didn’t seem to be enough speed separation between his average fastball and his slider.I

    Comment by Leo Walter — January 13, 2013 @ 8:21 pm

  17. What you folks may not know is that Cole is a great kid from a great family in southern Cal. Living in southern cal, you know the real deal behind these kids as Jared Weaver was also from a great family. You could feel that in the stadium when he threw his no hitter last year. All this should play very well for Cole in the Major’s! Good grounding should never be understated in predicting success! 2013 will be a big one for Cole!

    Comment by Tom — January 13, 2013 @ 10:50 pm

  18. Cole’s change was his second best pitch in many outings his sophomore and junior years at UCLA, and it absolutely has plus potential. He has to throw it, and the Pirate FB-command policy inevitably delays this, but it’s in there. Kiley is dead on with Cole’s arm speed, which is phenomenal as well as the issues with the 4-seamer being up in the zone far too often. Can’t argue with the FB policy re Cole, as FB command was a clear deficit when he was in college.

    Comment by E-Dub — January 14, 2013 @ 10:47 am

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