Report Card Grades for Gerrit Cole's Much-Anticipated MLB Debut

Josh SchochAnalyst IIIJune 11, 2013

Gerrit Cole made his highly anticipated MLB debut for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday, shutting down the San Francisco Giants for 6.1 innings.

The No. 1 pick from the 2011 MLB Draft, Cole needed just about two years to go from top prospect to successful MLB pitcher. The kid was flat-out dominant on Tuesday, recording 13 straight outs from the second inning through the sixth en route to his first Major League win.

The Pirates beat the defending World Series champion Giants, 8-2, with Cole picking up his first major league victory. Let's take a closer look at what the flame-throwing 22-year-old had working for him. 

 

Command: A

While the pressure gets to some rookies during their MLB debut and they have trouble hitting the strike zone, Cole was painting the corners all night.

He wasn't afraid to come right at the Giants heavy hitters, and because of that, he poured in strikes to establish favorable counts. 

Gerrit Cole with 39 strikes and 9 balls through 4 innings. Hard to beat that for fastball command. #pirates

— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) June 12, 2013

 

Gerrit Cole is CRUISING. Nine pitches, five pitches, ten pitches. Three straight perfect innings after that roughish start.

— Pat Lackey (@whygavs) June 12, 2013

It's hard to take away anything from Cole's command as he was spectacular until the seventh inning.

Overall, Cole threw 59 of his 81 pitches for strikes.

 

Velocity: A+

We knew that Cole threw hard entering Tuesday night, but few people appreciated just how hard he could actually throw.

Cole completely overpowered batters, blowing them away with his stuff and hitting 99 MPH at his peak.

Cole has hit 99 on the gun and thrown just 13 balls through five innings. Kinda unfair.

— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) June 12, 2013

Cole struck out his very first batter, coming right at Gregor Blanco and surprising him with a 99 MPH heater:

Poor Russell Martin had to be on the receiving end of those fastballs all night.

 

Movement: B+

Cole isn't exactly known for his movement, but it was there when he needed it, and the Giants simply couldn't figure out his offspeed stuff.

You don't see Buster Posey look bad in an at-bat very often, but he just struck out on an off speed pitch in the dirt from Cole.

— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) June 12, 2013

While he wasn't making batters look off-balance all night, he certainly knows how to use his curveball.

 

High-Pressure Situations: B+

Few rookies can stand the pressure from just pitching in the big leagues in their first start, but Cole overcame that and stepped up when baserunners were on.

Cole had a rocky start in his first two innings, giving up two hits in each of the first two innings and hitting a batter in the second as well. However, he found ways to work out of his early jams.

While he was charged with two earned runs in the seventh, Cole was calm, cool and collected throughout the game, looking like he had been there before.

Gerrit Cole looks so "cool" and composed out there. Ok, he did let a smile out on that #NeilWalker gem #LetsGoBucs #bucstuesday

— Kirk Littell (@KLittell) June 12, 2013

 

Batting: A

Most of the time, it's unfair to judge a pitcher based on their hitting.

Gerrit Cole isn't most pitchers.

In his very first Major League at bat, Cole came up with the bases loaded and two outs, and Tim Lincecum looked like he would put away the rookie to get out of trouble.

Cole clearly had other ideas, lining a deep single to drive in two runs in his first at-bat.

Gerrit Cole is the 1st pitcher chosen No. 1 overall to get a hit in his MLB debut (of the 14 to make the majors).

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 12, 2013

His other at-bats were less exciting, but the fans loved Cole's liner in his third at bat.

Gerrit Cole can do no wrong --- at least to us #Pirates fans. Just got a standing ovation on a line-out to CF. He's spoiling us already.

— D.J. Peckens (@DJPeckens) June 12, 2013

Some fans even joked about him moving up in the order.

Gerrit Cole should be batting ahead of Clint Barmes.

— #7 (@catfur7) June 12, 2013

 

Overall: A

Pirates fans couldn't have asked for more from their rookie pitcher. He looked like an ace on the mound, displaying tendencies of a veteran hurler.

#RedSox Gerrit Cole (Pitt) 58 pitches thru 5. Lester70 thru 3. Which pitcher is pitching his first MLB game????

— Doug Herron (@njsoxfan34) June 12, 2013

His stat line of 2 earned runs, seven hits, a hit batter and two strikeouts in 6.1 innings pitched might not be all that impressive, but it was marred by his performance in the seventh.

We should expect big things from this kid in the future.