One of the more anticipated Major League debuts of the year will finally take place next week, as the Pittsburgh Pirates have announced that they will call up right-hander Gerrit Cole to start Tuesday’s game against the San Francisco Giants. Cole’s arrival in Pittsburgh has been anticipated for some time now. The opportunity to have him start on Tuesday was created once Wandy Rodriguez left his last start early with inflammation in his forearm. Rodriguez has yet to be placed on the DL (the team is hoping it won’t be necessary), but the team knew he would not be available to make his next start which is where Cole will step in.
The 1st overall selection in the 2011 Draft, Cole has been ranked among the game’s top prospects prior to each of the past two seasons. He’s made 12 starts on the year at Triple-A, going 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA and 1.059 WHIP over 68.0 IP. He hasn’t demonstrated a big strikeout rate against tougher competition (6.3 K/9 versus the 9.3 K/9 he posted last season across three levels) but he’s continued to hold his own against opponents.
It will be awfully tempting for the Pirates to keep Cole in their rotation for the remainder of the season as the team tries to not only reach the playoffs, but finish above .500 for the first time since the 1992 season. Cole’s place is likely in Pittsburgh, rather than the minor leagues, as he’s long been expected to help rebuild the team’s rotation for the foreseeable future along with fellow prospect Jameson Taillon.