TOP STARTING PITCHER
Gerrit Cole: IP 109.2, W-L 8-5, ERA 3.28, 161 SO, 28 BB, 3.11 FIP, 13.2 S/O9
Gerrit Cole started out the year in March and April with a won-loss record of 2-4 in his seven starts. He did manage 65 strikeouts despite the losing record. The “Cole Train” would start gaining momentum as he made his way sowing the tracks in May and June, going 6-1 in his next 11 starts, a vast improvement. Gerrit Cole has nine starts where he has struck out ten or more batters and went 6-3 in those nine starts.
This award was tough to hand out as you will see with the other two nominees. One thing you can’t help but notice is the fire in which Gerrit Cole competes. On several occasions when Cole was either nearing the end of his start or behind in the count, you would see him fire off a couple high fastballs at 100 MPH+, and that fire grew as innings passed.
He threw 100 or more pitches in 12 of his starts this year. The young 28-year-old seems to have a lot of durability, much like his more senior teammate Justin Verlander.
When Cole arrived in Houston, he relied more on his two-seam fastball than his four-seam fastball. Cole spoke about this in a 2018 article (Q and A with Gerrit Cole) on ESPN.com by Marly Rivera.
"Cole said, “I used to throw a four-seam and the two-seam, and I used to probably lean on the two-seam almost 50 percent of the time or more. When I’d go into the room and have a meeting with them [the Astros coaching staff], they’d show me the data on my four-seam, and then they would show me what my best four-seams looked like. Like, they have video of it, and then they have statistics on it.”"
This has carried over into 2019, as Gerrit Cole looks to continue dominating opponents deep into the playoffs.