The Pittsburgh Pirates haven’t made the playoffs since 1992, and they’re still looking for someone or something to get them over the edge in 2013. This team looks as well-rounded as any Pittsburgh team in years prior, and Gerrit Cole may give Pirates faithful something to cheer about this year.
Cole’s name has bounced around the league ever since he was taken 28th overall in the 2008 draft by the New York Yankees, but chose not to sign. Cole would later be drafted first overall by the Pirates in the 2011 MLB Draft. He has yet to pitch in a MLB game, but hopefully this will be the year, as baseball pundits across the globe have circled 2013 as Cole’s first legitimate opportunity.
2012 was a little bit of an uphill battle for Cole as his struggles increased the further he moved up the minor league ladder. For example, he began 2012 in the High-A Florida State League as a member of the Bradeton Marauders, and was moved up after five wins and a 2.55 ERA in 13 starts.
Cole made 12 starts in Double-A with the Altoona Curve and although he finished with a 3-6 record, he had a 2.90 ERA in 12 starts, while striking out 60 batters and allowing just two home runs. At 21-years old, Cole also made one appearance at Triple-A, where he pitched six strong innings, striking out seven.
Currently, the Pirates rotation lacks an ace and with A.J Burnett becoming a free agent after this season, the rotation is going to get awfully bare if someone doesn’t step up. Cole will need a good spring training to break camp with Pittsburgh, and I think he will play a big role in 2013 if the Pirates are going to contend with the Cincinnati Reds atop the NL Central.