Reported: 1/16/2015 Risk: 3 ETA: 2016 Team Rank: NA Positional Rank: NA Overall Rank: NA
|55 / 60||50 / 50+||45 / 50||50 / 55||45 / 50||45|
|Profile: Earning a spot in the Nationals rotation will not be an easy task for Cole in 2017 - even with the trade of other high-profile arms such as Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito. The young right-hander has already spent two and a half years at Triple-A so a return to the minors may do more harm than good as he’s in danger of stagnating. He has a four-pitch mix with an average fastball and solid control, which could allow him to develop into a reliable fourth starter but it might make more sense for both the club and Cole to allow him to break camp as a long reliever in the majors. An injury to any of the club’s starters could also provide the rookie hurler with a spot in the rotation so you have to expect Cole to make some meaningful starts for the Nationals at some point in 2017 - although Austin Voth and Erick Fedde are other pitchers that could challenge Cole for opportunities. If he does open the year in the minors, he’ll need to work on his changeup to help him neutralize left-handed batters (.304 vs LHB vs .236 vs RHB in ’16). (Marc Hulet)|
The Quick Opinion: Cole doesn’t have the stuff to be an impact pitcher at the big league level but he could be a solid innings-eater type after pitching 110 or more innings each of the past five seasons. The lack of starting pitching depth in the Nationals system — especially after this past winter’s trades — should provide Cole with opportunities to pitch meaningful innings for the club in 2017. At what point in the season that will occur, though, remains to be seen.