Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 11/9/14
Don’t believe Gerrit Cole when he says velocity isn’t important. The 22-year-old right-hander has a fastball that reaches triple digits and his slider is as hard as many heaters. His ability to overpower hitters is what makes him one of the top pitching prospects in the game. The 6-foot-4 flamethrower is on the fast track to Pittsburgh. Drafted first overall in 2011, out of UCLA, he pitched at three levels last season and struck out more than a batter per inning while logging an impressive 2.80 ERA. His next stop is the Pirates starting rotation, where he projects to be the ace of the staff for years to come. Cole talked about his game when the Double-A Altoona Curve visited Portland late in the 2012 season. —— David Laurila: How would describe your approach? Gerrit Cole: I try to get early contact and keep it on the ground. I like to keep the ball down as much as I can. Strikeouts are something that just happen. You don’t go for strikeouts, because your pitch count gets too high. When you do get that opportunity, you have to put them away with whatever is working that day. That’s the approach I’ve always had to have. I’ve got to keep my pitch count down. If you want to go deep into ballgames, you have to stay under that 100 mark. DL: What is your repertoire? GC: Fast, change, curve, slider. I probably throw 60% to 65% fastballs — both a two-seam and a four-seam. There’s not much of a difference in velocity between the two, so I mostly throw the two-seam when I need a ground ball. My four is probably straighter than the two. It’s what I’ll use when I want go out of the zone with a fastball. DL: How important is velocity to your game? GC: It’s not important. Everyone can catch up to a fastball once you’ve showed it to them enough times. I pretty much learned that when I was back in school and guys started gearing up for it. You have to keep hitters off-balance and command both sides of the plate. There’s a purpose to each pitch. DL: What is your best off-speed pitch? GC: Probably my changeup. I kind of grip it like a circle change, but loosely. It’s a two-seam circle and I try to arm-speed it as best I can. DL: What’s the biggest difference between your curveball and your slider? GC: Mostly velocity. My slider is in the upper-80s and my curveball is in the lower-80s. As far as the break, my curveball is a little more vertical. It’s bigger. DL: What is the key to throwing a good slider? GC: Not trying to do too much with it. It’s just like with any other pitch; you have to trust it. If you keep your fingers on top, you’ll be all right. When I’m not throwing well, my pitches are a little flatter. That usually comes from going too fast out of my delivery — for whatever reason — or even going too slow. Basically, not nailing your delivery can cause some flatness. DL: Do individual hitters influence your pitch selection? GC: I try not to focus on who’s hitting. I just try to throw my game out there. Obviously, you’re watching the hitters and trying to read foul balls. You let the hitter tell you what he’s trying to do. At the same time, I focus more on myself than I do the guy at the plate. If I’m making my pitches, I’m going to get outs more often than not.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

MLS 2015 season preview

Report: Broncos will franchise tag Demaryius Thomas

Marshawn Lynch on final SB play: 'I was expecting the ball'

Report: Rangers acquire Keith Yandle from Coyotes

Report: Bucs to keep Vincent Jackson under current contract

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Twins to limit players' smartphone use on game days

Shane Battier: Carmelo Anthony is not that tough to guard

Ronda Rousey would be 'happy' to fight Cat Zingano again

Markieff Morris calls out Suns fans after loss

Cowboys to let DeMarco Murray test free agency?

Brock Lesnar attends UFC 184, keeps MMA rumors alive

WATCH: Sidney Crosby gets leveled in open-ice hit

PHOTO: Pacquiao has message for Mayweather with t-shirt?

Nuggets break team huddle with countdown to end of season

WATCH: James Harden kicks LeBron in the groin

Jim Harbaugh tells Madonna he respects her toughness

Are the Oakland Raiders finally trending up?

Durant blasts Instagram hater for Westbrook comment

Three potential big signings the Steelers could make

Kevin Garnett buys 1,000 tickets for Timberwolves fans

Michigan fan has incredible Charles Woodson tattoo

WATCH: NIU C brings down basket on dunk

McCown plans to embrace mentoring role with Manziel

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

MLS 2015 season preview

Report: Broncos to franchise Demaryius

James Harden kicks LeBron in groin

Lynch: 'I was expecting the ball'

Report: Rangers get Yandle from Coyotes

Harbaugh respects Madonna's grit

Twins to limit game day cell phone use

Kevin Durant blasts hater on Instagram

KG buys 1,000 tickets for T-Wolves fans

Markieff Morris calls out Suns fans

Cowboys letting Murray test market?

Brock Lesnar attends UFC 184

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.