It should be no secret that Gerrit Cole, the 29 year-old ace from Newport Beach, California, has been a dominant force on the pitching mound since his debut in 2013. Since 2018, Cole has averaged a 2.69 ERA, 2.67 FIP, 0.96 WHIP, 2.76 SIERA and a 6.7 fWAR in 412.2 innings.
Adding to these already impressive accolades, only Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer have accumulated a higher fWAR in the last two years. Cole ranked 3rd in ERA, 3rd in FIP, 4th in WHIP and 1st in SIERA.
Picking up the pace, from 2018-2019, Cole averaged 13.11 strikeouts per 9 innings, 2.45 walks per 9 innings and allowed 1.04 home runs per 9 innings. In those same 2 years, Cole left 80.6% of all hitters on base, struck out 602 total hitters and walked 112 total hitters.
In these categories of analytics, Cole ranked 1st in strikeouts per 9 innings, 17th in walks per 9 innings, 14th in home runs allowed per 9 innings, 6th in left on base percentage, 1st in strikeouts and 15th in walks.
Gerrit Cole in the 2019 season:
– Changeup: Hitters whiffed 41.2% of the time
– Slider: Hitters whiffed 39.9% of the time
– Four-seamer: Hitters whiffed 37.6% of the time
– Curve: Hitters whiffed 31.9% of the time
Point is, Gerrit Cole is absurdly good at baseball pic.twitter.com/YiGEGQhjaL
— Dillard Barnhart (@BarnHasSpoken) February 28, 2020
According to Statcast, in the 2019 season, Cole was in the top 3% for fastball velocity, top 4% for fastball spin, top 6% for curve spin and top 1% for strikeout percentage. Not impressed? How about the top 3% for expected batting average, top 4% for expected slugging and the top 2% for expected weighted on-base average.
Still not impressed? When hitters stepped into the batter’s box to face Cole, in the last 2 years, they only posted a .192 AVG, .253 OBP, .337 SLG, and a .255 wOBA, which are all well below average numbers.
Cole relies on 5 pitches each game he starts. His arsenal includes a four-seamer, slider, curve, changeup, and a sinker. He utilizes his four-seamer 51.6% of the time, slider at 23.2%, curve at 15.4%, changeup at 7.4% and sinker at 2.4%.
His slider is by far the most deadly. In 2019, hitters posted a .187 AVG, .317 SLG and a .224 wOBA on 778 sliders thrown. Cole also put away hitters at a 27.4% rate and made hitters whiff at a 39.9% rate.
While Cole’s changeup isn’t as lethal as his slider, he still made hitters whiff at an astonishing 41.2% rate. His four-seam fastball also deserves recognition. In 2019, hitters only posted a .166 AVG, .348 SLG and a .257 wOBA on 1733 four-seamers thrown.
Cole averaged 97.1 MPH on his four-seamer with 11.4 inches of break and 10.9 inches of drop. To sum this information up, Cole had ridiculous movement on his four-seamer and was in the top 4% for both horizontal and vertical movement.
Cole’s curve was also absurd in 2019. His curve averaged 82.6 MPH with 11.7 inches of break and 55.6 inches of drop, with his horizontal and vertical movement in the top 6%.
In general, Cole threw 3362 pitches in 2019. In that frame, he made hitters chase out of the zone at a 32.3% rate and made hitters whiff at a 37.3% rate. He also is efficient at playing defense, saving 10 runs and recording an 8.7 pitch framing in the last 6 seasons.
Cole is worth every penny of his 9 years, $324M, $36M AAV contract. After all, he has allowed no runs and has struck out 4 hitters in his last 2 Spring Training starts. Take that for whatever it’s worth.