I made the drive to Binghamton to see Gerrit Cole pitch against the Binghamton Mets and came away very impressed. It was his first time back on the mound following being hit by a pair of liners in his previous start. Anyway here is what I saw from Cole and the other players of note, coming from row 2 directly behind the plate. I was also able to talk to a few scouts in attendance(there were at least 10 there). My report records the velocity of each one of the 87 pitches he threw. The video I took was a warm up and of his matchups against Wilmer Flores, but didn't come out as good as I would have liked.
Final line- 5.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, WP, WIN
Cole vs Flores 1st AB
Cole vs Flores 2nd AB
Cole vs Flores 3rd AB cut short
Delivery-Tonight Cole had a very smooth, effortless delivery. He was routinely in the upper 90s with ease. His delivery out of the stretch was also solid, though not quite as smooth.
Velocity-Cole hit 99 multiple times, and you could just tell that he had more in him if he wanted to reach back and hit triple digits. He held velocity deep into the game, as his 86th pitch of the night hit 99 and he was in the high 90s for most of the last few pitches he threw. His velocity actually improved as the game went along as you will see below, similar to Justin Verlander. He hit 99 MPH (4) times, 98 MPH (9) times, 97 MPH (2) times, and 96 MPH (11) times, for a total of 26 pitches hitting at least 96 and only 2 of those were in the first two innings while almost all of his 99 MPH pitches were in his final inning of work.
Command-Excellent. Cole went through the order two full times before even throwing three balls to a hitter(the leadoff hitter in his third plate appearance). Of his first 64 pitches, 48 went for strikes and he ended up throwing 63 of his 87 pitches for strikes.
Pitch Selection-Cole threw a ton of fastballs. I believe I counted between 70-75 pitches that were fastballs out of his 87 pitches. I wonder if this is something the Pirates are working on as it was documented a year ago that they wanted Taillon to focus on fastball command by throwing a huge percentage of them.
The pitch by pitch recap is below the jump
1ST INNING....3 up, 3 down on 8 pitches. 2 FO to 1 GO
Lagares-93, 94 94(deep fly out to right center)
Havens-95, 94(grounder past Cole to short. Cole was quick to get out of the way, though not surprising after just getting hit in his last start)
Marte-94, 95, 97(liner right to the centerfielder)
2ND INNING...3 up, 3 down on 12 pitches. 2 K's and 1 FO
Campbell-94, 93, 93, 95, 86(swinging K)
Flores-94, 94, 95(fairly long fly out to right)
Martin-95, 96, 95, 88(swinging K)
3RD INNING...13 pitches, 2 K, 2 grounders but error costs Cole a run
Kazmar-91, 93(groundout to 3B)
Centeno-93, 94(grounder to 3B but error by 1B Matt Curry which later cost a run)
Germen-94, 94, 98(K on fouled bunt)
Lagares-86(single on a liner to left. scored the first run against Cole)
Havens-96, 96, 86(good movement on slider), 88(stolen base), 86(swinging K)
4TH INNING...12 pitches, 2 GO, 1 pop out, 2 singles
Marte-86, 96, 94(grounder to second)
Campbell-95(grounder to short)
Flores-94, 92(lines single to right)
Martin-96(lined a rope to RF)
Kazmar-90, 98, 89, 89, 96(great diving catch by 2B on a blooper heading into center)
5TH INNING...19 pitches, BB, 1B, K, 2 GO
Centeno-96, 86, 95(singles on grounder just out of SS reach. better SS likely would have prevented it with catcher running)
Lagares-88, 89, 95, 97, 89, 89, 90(walk)
Havens-89, 96, 98, 99, 94, 88(K looking on excellent placed pitch)
Marte-89, 88(slow roller to third)
Campbell-79, 89, 94, 94, 88, 84, 88, 96(singled right in front of RF as he misplayed the ball a bit)
Flores-88, 88, 88, 98, 98(grounder to 3B that average 3B would have stopped, but goes for double down line and RBI)
Martin-98, 96, 98(foul pop to third at the stands)
Kazmar-98, 99, 98, 99, 90(Wild pitch, but should have been handled), 99, 88(pop out to third just inside foul line)
Cole then gets pulled with 2 outs and runner on third as part of a double-switch. He was due up in the next half inning and the score at the time was 4-2.
Overall-I was very impressed with what I saw. His command was excellent tonight and he looked very strong. With better defense he would have had a better final line, as an error led to a run and an extra hit, while 3 other hits could have been prevented with better defense, and his wild pitch could have been blocked. The K's weren't super high, but he wasn't really using his big slider much which could have helped him rack up a few more K's. The pitcher I saw was a front of the rotation guy for sure. I don't want to say he did or did not look like a future ace, but he was very impressive.
Robbie Grossman went 1-4 with a walk and caught stealing. On the second pitch of his first AB he lined a double down the first base line. He followed that with a shallow pop out to the center fielder in his next AB, but it was the 8th pitch of the AB. His next AB he took a walk. I was impressed with his ability to work a count and get on base. He's hard to figure though because he is a corner OF without big power and the Pirates already have McCutchen and then Marte coming, so he may need to be traded, I can see him as a better Alex Pressly or Jose Tabata.
Matt Curry(by request) went 3-5 with 3 singles and an RBI. Only one of those singles inpressed me, a sharply hit grounder up the middle. Made an error at first catching a ball. Feeling very blah towards him honestly.
Ramon Cabrera is listed at 5'8" but seems a bit smaller than that. Also only hitting .237 coming in, but did impress me here with a few balls he got something into. The first was a long foul ball down the RF line and the other was a ball he hit really hard at the 1B that he turned into a double. Went 2-5 with a 2B, R, RBI. Didn't pay too close attention to his D, but should have blocked the ball that Cole got the wild pitch on.
Wilmer Flores went 2-4 with a double and an RBI but looked awful in the field. Not only did he make 2 seperate throwing errors, but he seemed to lack effort on a slow roller hit by Gerrit Cole. He barely threw out Cole, who wasn't running hard in the situation. More concerned by that play that the throwing errors.
Jefry Marte went 0-5 and didn't look good on defense. He failed to stop a hot shot off the bat of Cabrera and his inexperience at first helped to contribute to three throwing errors by his teammates, including on a pickoff attempt.
Gonzalez Germen was the starter for Binghamton and impressed me a little. He was hitting 95 at times and topped out at 96 MPH. Strikes out about a guy per inning on the year and tonight had a 10-4 GO/FO ratio. Could potentially have some future in the bullpen, though he isn't a closer.