Gerrit Cole tossed five shutout innings at high Single-A last night, lowering his ERA to 2.55 in 13 starts, and today the Pirates promoted last year’s No. 1 overall pick to Double-A at age 21.
Cole signed too late to debut last season after getting an $8 million bonus out of UCLA, so the Pirates had him skip rookie-ball and low Single-A to begin this year. He thrived, posting a 69/21 K/BB ratio and .217 opponents’ batting average in 67 innings in addition to the shiny 2.55 ERA.
That includes a 1.96 ERA in his final 10 starts against Florida State League competition, so Cole definitely looks ready to tackle the Eastern League and will make his debut there Wednesday against the Twins’ affiliate.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.