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Monday, December 5, 2022

Pirates Activate Gerrit Cole, Option Brandon Cumpton

The Pittsburgh Pirates have activated right-handed pitcher Gerrit Cole from the 15-day disabled list. They have optioned Brandon Cumpton to Triple-A to make room on the 25-man roster. The move to activate Cole today was expected, as Clint Hurdle said earlier in the week that he would be starting tonight.

The thing we didn’t know at the time is what the corresponding roster move would be. Brandon Cumpton made the most sense, as he has options remaining. The only other player with options remaining is Jeff Locke, who has been pitching better than Cumpton in the brief amount of time each player has been up this year. The other possible candidates would be Edinson Volquez and Vance Worley. Both pitchers have done well enough to remain in the rotation, as opposed to the alternative plans, which would be a demotion to the bullpen or a DFA.

Cumpton has been pitching well this year. He has a 4.61 ERA, but that’s largely inflated by one bad start where he gave up ten earned runs in 3.2 innings. His xFIP is 3.93. If the Pirates have a need for another starter later in the year, he would be a great option to call on. Last night he threw seven innings against the Mets, giving up two earned runs. It was the second start in a row where he threw seven innings.

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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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Cumpton has so many things he should and could be able to do better, but shutting down teams does not appear to be one of his problems. We seem to be able to put up with bigger name pitchers pitching poorly, but we can’t put up with a no name pitching good, go figure!


So well said Leadoff. I just hope whenever people harp on us picking up an established veteran “horse” like AJ they realize that is exactly the results they got in Cumpton. If I am a team approached by the Pirates for a midsummer trade he would be on my very short list of asks. If I were the Phillies I would toss us back AJ for him in a minute and kick in $$$. I think the Rays would also want him for Price but we would also have to toss in a Kingham or Bell and some lesser minor leaguers. We shouldn’t do either though in my opinion.

Ian Rothermund

I think Cumpton did a great job while he was here. If I would have one suggestion for when he goes back down, it would be to really spend the rest of the year focussing on developing the change up more and improving his secondary pitches in general. If he can dictate games like he did while he was up primarily focussing on fastball command, solid off speed pitches could really elevate his game.


Agree. What’s working for Locke is pinpoint control plus he’s taken an additional 2mph off his changeup, giving him more than 10mph separation. A better changeup and Cumpton could be a legitimate #3 down the road if he keeps his command solid.

It occurred to me today that the Bucs next move might be to trade Chuck. It’s just a feeling, but I get the sense that Hurdle is loving the guys with low expectations succeeding and is down on the guy with the real electric stuff continually going against advice (e.g. relying on pitches other than his best stuff, having brain cramps/location problems when ahead in count, etc.) I can sense Clint’s frustration every time Charlie loses a game by surrendering a big inning.


Sorry Bandon, if you only pitched for like 14 other teams.

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