The Pittsburgh Pirates announced today that right handed pitcher Gerrit Cole will be pitching in the Arizona Fall League this off-season. As I noted the other day, Cole was a strong candidate to attend the AFL. He was listed as attending on the instructional league rosters, but no official announcement had been made.
Cole signed at the deadline, while his UCLA teammate, Trevor Bauer, signed earlier in the process and pitched 25.2 innings in the pros this year, reaching the AA level two months after the draft. Cole should see around 16-20 innings in the AFL, based on the workloads of other pitchers that have played in the league, which should help make up for the fact that he didn’t pitch in 2011 after June. That could help his transition next year in to the pros, and might even speed up his ascent to the AA level.
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.
If he has success out west, do you think he goes straight to AA in 2012?
As I mentioned in the “Pirates Hitter and Pitcher of the Year” article, the Pirates are tough to figure out with placements, especially this far in advance.
Conventional wisdom holds Cole to start 2012 in A+ and get a jump around June to AA. If Cole is as advanced as perceived and shows them enough in ST, it’s possible he goes straight to AA.
Remember, college D-1 is generally assumed to be the skill level of Low A, so AA is a big deal out of the gate.
Included in Bauer’s innings were 5 as a starter in the AA title game, a game in which he pitched well. I’m not sure, but don’t think he had overwhelming success otherwise. Still, pretty impressive. It’ll be interesting if Cole and Bauer stay injury free to note the comparables on their careers.