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2/8/1979 (38 y, 11 d)
1997 June Amateur Draft - Round: 2, Pick: 18, Overall: 70, Team: Colorado Rockies
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Updating a previous report, the Rockies released Cook from his minor league contract. (7/19/2013)
Aaron Cook and the Improbable
Jeff Sullivan (FanGraphs)
Aaron Cook's 2012 Season Is Like...
Robert J. Baumann (NotGraphs)
Red Sox Should Recall Cook For Some Relief
Eric Seidman (FanGraphs)
Bard Back to the Bullpen
Chris Cwik (FanGraphs)
(Click Year to Expand /
Year in Review:
Cook may just have revolutionized pitching in Colorado. Perhaps the Rockies' staff wondered how a pitcher with such a terrible strikeout rate (3.71 K/9 career) could find marginal success in the rarefied air of Coors Field. His career FIP (4.32) seemed to have suggested that he was doing something right – and that something was inducing ground balls (57.5% career). Now the staff is full of sinker-ballers and pitchers that can induce the ground ball, and suddenly solid pitching in Colorado is not an oxymoron. For that we thank you, Aaron Cook, even if you are just about as marginal a pitcher as there can be otherwise. One concern that has arisen with Cook is his durability. After averaging 178 innings in each of the last three years (and a four-year low of 158 last year), it's hard to depend on Cook even for the mediocre stats he's been putting up.
The Year Ahead:
In deeper leagues, a pitcher that can put up some wins (27 in the last two years) without killing your ratios (4.05/1.37) has some value, especially if you can get him in the final rounds of a deep draft. It's reasonable to expect numbers like the above, in about 170 innings, but perhaps that late draft pick would better be spent on a player with some upside. A thousand innings into this 30-year-old pitcher’s career, it's safe to say that he is devoid of just that. He's a guy with one pitch (the sinking fastball) that he throws almost 85% of the time, and he's not getting any younger. Since he averages a strikeout only about every three innings, you certainly aren't going to own him for punch-outs. But if you are staring at your final pick and he's out there, you could do worse in your search for wins. (Eno Sarris)
Cook does one thing that we all like to see: he consistently gets ground balls at a high rate. Other than that, he isn’t Cookin’ up anything to get excited about. We know pitchers can survive with a high groun-ball rate and a low strikeout rate, but Cook is going about it all wrong. Cook has only had one season with a league-average K/BB ratio, and he had one of his worst rates in 2010. Other than his power sinker, Cook doesn’t have another pitch he can consistently rely on, leading to problems when he’s ahead in the count. While he doesn’t deserve an ERA over 5.00, an ERA around 4.50 with a low strikeout rate and poor WHIP is what you’re going to get. Unless he can somehow manage to get enough run support for 15 or more wins, he’s not worth your time in 2011. (Zach Sanders)
The Quick Opinion:
Cook can certainly get ground balls, but that's about all he can do. His value will be tied in with how much run support he receives, so he's not worth your time.
Loyalty dies hard in Major League Baseball, and particularly with the Rockies, which they proved by sticking with Aaron Cook -- who was once an inspirational comeback story -- to the bitter end. Cook missed two months with a broken ring finger and was ineffective when he returned last season. He allowed six runs or more in a start five times, yet was still in the Rockies’ rotation when September started. His 143 ERA- was the third-worst among pitchers who tossed at least 90 innings, “bested” only by John Lackey and Edinson Volquez. Cook is still able to keep the ball on the ground better than most, but his control has evaded him the past two seasons, and as a result, more balls that were harmless wormburners have become screaming liners into the gap. His 1.69 WHIP was simply untenable, and while it may improve slightly this season, it’s not a WHIP that you want on your team. Now a free agent, Cook may not have a full-time role when the season begins anyway. (Paul Swydan)
The Quick Opinion:
Cook is still able to generate grounders, but when hitters can get the ball in the air they do a lot of damage. Never that good to begin with -- he has never posted a sub-4.00 xFIP -- Cook is now not draftable in any format.
Owner of the league's worst strikeout rate (1.91 per nine) of pitchers with more than 20 innings in 2012, Cook is unlikely to be more than a desperation option in virtually any league. That's if he can convince a big league team he's still above replacement level. (
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Updated: Sunday, February 19, 2017 3:32 AM ET
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