Houston Astros: Gerrit Cole making case as best pitcher in game

Cole is the prized free agent for the 2020 campaign. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.
Cole is the prized free agent for the 2020 campaign. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images. /

Houston Astros pitcher Gerrit Cole is making a case as the best pitcher in the game today.

Gerrit Cole had himself a historic ALDS Game Two performance Saturday night in which he went over seven innings and struck out 15 batters. The Houston Astros held on for the win to go up 2-0 on the Tampa Bay Rays and Cole cemented his place in baseball history by placing himself third all-time in postseason strikeouts in an individual game behind Kevin Brown and the great Bob Gibson.

Cole has had an amazing year with over 300 punch-outs, a 20-5 record, and a 2.50 ERA. For the season, he’s first in the American League in ERA and FIP (2.64), and first in the entire league in strikeouts (326), ERA+ (185), and SO/9 (13.8). Oh, and he may very well throw in a Cy Young and World Series title as well when it’s all said and done.

What we saw Saturday night was greatness in the way he dominated a scrappy Rays team for seven and 2/3 innings.

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Cole just so happens to be a free agent this upcoming offseason and is clearly on top of his game and in his prime. But is he the best pitcher in all of baseball?

I think the easy answer here is “not quite yet.” But let me elaborate.

When we look at Gerrit Cole, we see the robust numbers, especially in the strikeout department. Averaging 13.8 Ks over the course of nine innings is almost unheard of when it comes to starting pitchers, even in this day and age; and Cole has now led the league in that category the past two seasons.

We see how electric his stuff is and how smooth his upper 90s fastball comes out. It’s also worth noting that he’s taken some aspects from his AL Cy Young/MVP teammate’s game and incorporated it into his own style. Have you noticed how low he holds his glove now from the windup? Have you noticed the stop-and-start motion of his that used to be a smoother, fluid windup? He’s utilizing mechanics seen on Justin Verlander and improving his own game in the process, which is only making him better.

Cole is a dominant pitcher in this league and could very shortly become the clear-cut best pitcher in all of baseball. I would say he’s very close at this point, but we have to still consider the future Hall-of-Famers in Verlander, Clayton Kershaw, and Max Scherzer, as well as that guy over in Queens by the name of Jacob deGrom. Get Cole a couple of Cy Youngs and then we can talk.

But there’s no doubt Cole is an elite pitcher in this league and this upcoming offseason will be fun to watch for him. I’m very interested to see who takes that shot and gives him a huge contract. I don’t think the Astros will do it, so who steps up?

We haven’t had this in awhile- an elite starting pitcher fresh into his prime and ready to become one of the greats is an unrestricted free agent. It’s going to be exciting to see where he ends up and if he can cement himself as the best in baseball in the next few years.

Cole proving value in postseason. dark. Next

Pittsburgh Pirates, I haven’t a clue what you were thinking.