Gerrit Cole is throwing 101 and slaying giants

19 Comments

Gerrit Cole is 3-0 with a 3.44 ERA through his first three career starts, walking a grand total of one batter in 18.1 innings at age 22, and the names the former No. 1 overall pick has beaten makes it even more impressive.

In his MLB debut Cole defeated former Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum. In his second start Cole beat former Cy Young winner Zack Greinke. And in his third start, last night, Cole topped former Cy Young runner-up Jered Weaver. Three starts against three huge names and three victories.

Unfortunately his string of household name opponents will likely come to an end next week, as Cole is scheduled to start against the Brewers and they’re slated to go with fellow rookie Donovan Hand in the game.

Oh, and here’s another little Cole tidbit: Last night he threw a pitch that clocked in at 101.0 miles per hour, which according to ESPN Stats and Information is the fastest pitch any non-Justin Verlander starting pitcher has thrown since 2008.

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.