Pirates' Cole reaches 100 mph in pro debut
No. 1 overall Draft pick gives up three runs over 2 1/3 innings
Gerrit Cole's debut may have been overshadowed by another No. 1 Draft pick Friday, but the Pirates prospect is happy with the way his professional debut turned out.
Selected first overall in June, Cole gave up three runs on three hits over 2 1/3 innings for the Mesa Solar Sox in their 16-8 Arizona Fall League loss to the Surprise Saguaros.
"I felt pretty good. It was exciting and I did well," said Cole, who reportedly hit 100 mph with his fastball and the upper 80s with his slider. "I was a little bit nervous during the warmup pitches, but I was OK. I can take a lot of positives from the game as well as some negatives that I have to acknowledge.
"I tried to keep the fastball down, pound the zone and get ahead of hitters, but because I don't know them I had to play it by ear."
The 21-year-old right-hander faced 11 batters and threw 35 of 52 pitches for strikes. He was hoping to pitch deeper into the game, but that plan was revised after 10-pitch at-bats against 2008 top overall pick Tim Beckham (Rays) in the first inning and Kevin Mattison (Marlins) in the third.
"There were a couple long at-bats with lots of foul balls that got my pitch count up, but you just have to keep going and make good pitches," said Cole, a UCLA product who signed with the Pirates minutes before the Aug. 15 deadline and got an $8 million bonus.
"It can be a grind, but you have to go pitch to pitch. I don't know what the plan was for me today, but I was just trying to go as long as I could to give my team a chance to win. Next time, I want to try and be more efficient. I wasn't out of the zone, but I would have liked quicker outs to keep the pressure on them."
Cole tossed a 1-2-3 first inning, then recorded back-to-back strikeouts in the second to work around a leadoff single by Mike Olt (Rangers). In the third, he surrendered a one-out single to Tyler Bortnick (Rays) and walked Mattison before Beckham's two-run double chased the California native.
Beckham, a 2011 Futures Game selection, was no stranger to Cole.
"I remember playing Tim a couple times in high school. It was cool," Cole said. "He was pretty locked in today from what I saw. He had a good day. The pitch to him [in the third] was up a little bit, but I didn't put it where I wanted to. I knew he was going to be aggressive. "
Beckham, who reached Triple-A in August, went 4-for-5 with two triples, two doubles, four RBIs and three runs scored for Surprise. Batting leadoff, Mattison contributed three hits, four RBIs and four runs scored, missing the cycle by a double.
Matt Dominguez, the Marlins' top prospect, was 3-for-6 with a solo homer, two RBIs and two runs scored to help the first-place Saguaros improve to 8-1.
Mesa's Josh Vitters (Cubs) had four hits to raise his average to .405 and Pirates prospect Robbie Grossman reached safely four times and doubled home a run in a losing effort.
Miguel De Los Santos (1-0) picked up his first fall win, despite allowing a pair of unearned runs on one hit and three walks in two innings. The Rangers left-hander also struck out three. Cubs prospect Marcus Hatley (0-2) surrendered four runs on five hits and a walk in 1 2/3 innings for the last-place Solar Sox, who fell to 2-8.
Ashley Marshall is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.