AFL Recap 10/14: Gerrit Cole’s Debut

Cole made his AFL debut today.

Gerrit Cole, the first overall pick in the 2011 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, made his Arizona Fall League debut this afternoon against the Surprise Saguaros.   Cole started off strong, with two shutout innings, but fell apart in the third, finishing with three runs allowed on three hits in 2.1 innings, along with a walk and two strikeouts.

Cole started off the game with three ground outs in the first inning.  He ranged from 93-100 MPH with his fastball, hitting 100 twice, 99 once, and ranging 89-90 with his slider, per Keith Law.  Cole gave up a single to lead off the second inning, but followed that up with two strikeouts, and a ground out to end the inning.

He ran in to trouble in the third.  After getting the leadoff hitter to ground out, Cole gave up a single to Tyler Bortnick.  Bortnick stole second base, then Cole issued a walk to put runners on first and second.  The next batter, Tim Beckham – the first overall pick in the 2008 draft – hit a double, bringing in two runs, and ending Cole’s day.  Beckham would later score, adding a third run to Cole’s stat line.

Cole finished due to his pitch count.  He touched 99 MPH in the third, and the double he gave up was on a 97 MPH fastball.  The thing that stands out here is Cole’s stuff.  That’s not new.  Cole was hitting the upper 90s, including 100 MPH, and also working with an upper 80s slider.  He’s got a nasty arsenal, and today’s pitch readings were just reminders of why he’s talked about with number one upside.

Robbie Grossman went 2-for-3 today with a double and two walks, moving back to the leadoff spot.  Grossman played left field today, which was the first time he played any other position on the field other than right field.  He’s played every game so far, and has a .349 average in 43 at-bats, along with a .975 OPS.

Mesa takes on Surprise tomorrow afternoon at 3:35 PM EST.

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.

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Throwing a 100 doesn’t impress me so much anymore being a good pitcher does. Wakefield had a long career throwing 50mph. The Reds paid 30M for a guy who throws 100 and he ain’t exactly setting the world on fire.

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