Gerrit Cole has increased the usage of his slider in the second half, and the strikeouts have gone up. (Photo Credit: David Hague)
Anyone who expected Gerrit Cole to come up and immediately be an ace was setting themselves up for disappointment. That can certainly happen, but stories like Jose Fernandez are the exception, and not the rule. In most cases, a guy comes up and needs to adjust to the majors before realizing his potential.
One of the big concerns with Cole is that he will never be an ace. Part of that is probably just left-over fear remaining from the “Glass is half empty” years where no Pirates prospect realized their upside. After watching every prospect bust, or every pitcher have a good season only to fail to repeat those numbers, Pirates fans have the right to be skeptical. But they also need to be realistic. Here are Cole’s strikeout ratios at every level in the minors:
High-A: 25.3 K%
Double-A: 23.8 K%
Triple-A: 17.5 K%
The first two are what you want to see, altho...