2021 Dynasty Player of the Week: Gerrit Cole

by Dave Eddy

Welcome back to our 2021 Dynasty Baseball Player of the Week, where I'll be talking about Gerrit Cole. This week I am filling in for my main man, Mr. Nick Z. While he is in Maine paddleboarding, eating lobster, and catching a Baseball game I am here, hard at work for you.

Nick does a great job writing entertaining, yet informative articles. So, I am hopeful that I will do him proud this week. In an effort to give me the best possible chance I am going to speak (mostly) poorly about one of his arch-rival New York Yankees.

Before we get started, don't forget to tune into the On Deck Circle Podcast live on Tuesday nights. You can find it on our YouTube and our Twitter as well. Also, make sure you check out my deep Dynasty Baseball rankings

2021 Dynasty Player of the Week: Gerrit Cole

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The Ace

It is fair to say that Gerrit Cole has been dominant and one of the best pitchers in the game over the span of his career which started back in 2013. In his time at the Big League level, he has put up a sparkling 3.17 ERA 1.11 WHIP to go along with 1,565 K's over 1,373 innings pitched which has led him to a 109 - 59 record.

Since roughly 2015 I would consider him to be an ace at the Big League level. In that span he performed above the league average in most of the stats I deem to be important. For me, the following are the biggest examples:

  • Barrel%: League average 6.5% -  Gerrit Cole 6.1%
  • xBA: League average .243 - Gerrit Cole .221
  • xSLG: League average .407 - Gerrit Cole .364
  • xWOBA: League average .313 - Gerrit Cole .280
  • K%: League average 22% - Gerrit Cole 29.5%

The sticky situation

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The first portion of this article was short and to the point, because quite frankly it should come as no surprise that Gerrit Cole has been an incredible pitcher. The meat and potatoes of this article need to revolve around the crackdown on foreign substances. More specifically how it has affected Gerrit Cole more than most in the league.

Cole is a Pitcher that has more RPM (rotations per minute) on his pitch arsenal than most. While this has always been something that has seemingly worked in his favor, the crackdown has definitely affected his results. Whether this will last or for how long it will last is anyone's guess. If you are a Dynasty owner with Cole on your roster you would be ignorant not to have some concern.

This is No Cole-incidence

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Let's take a look at how Cole's spin rates compared to league averages prior to the crackdown:

  • 4-Seamer: League average 2,313 - Gerrit Cole 2,504 which is +8.3%
  • Slider: League average 2,455 - Gerrit Cole 2,648 which is +7.9%
  • Curveball: League average 2,552 - Gerrit Cole 2,811 which is +10.1%

Now let's take a look at how Cole has compared to himself since the crackdown:

  • 4-Seamer: Prior 2,504 - Since 2,420 which is -3.4%
  • Slider: Prior 2,648 - Since 2,561 which is -3.3%
  • Curveball: Prior 2,811 - Since 2,753 which is -2.1%

As you can see, there has been a sharp decline in his spin rates since the crackdown. In fact, Cole has seen some of the biggest declines in the league and it has shown in his stats. Granted, it is a small sample size, but since the crackdown, Cole has thrown to a 5.24 ERA and 1.22 WHIP over 34.1 innings while striking out 38 and walking 11. He has seen his K% drop from 36.9% down to 26.2% and his home run rate has quadrupled.

How quickly things change

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Well..........since writing the majority of this article, Cole went out and absolutely dominated the best offense in the League. For the first time since the crackdown, he threw an elite-level game. Against the Astros, he threw a complete-game shutout while allowing just 3 hits and striking out 12.

As much as anything this game was a little bit of revenge for Cole as he faced his former team. To be clear, he was absolutely dominant! That being said I do get concerned these days when a Pitcher throws 129 pitches. Granted, that is probably not a major issue and is nit-picking. More than anything, I would say that he knows those Astros hitters as well as any opposing pitcher after spending the 2018 & 2019 seasons with them.

Final Verdict

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If you currently own Cole, you can try and shop him around. His most recent game certainly gives the Cole truthers a good feeling and rightfully so. This gives a potentially shrewd Cole owner a great opportunity during the downtime of the All-Star to pull of a trade. I doubt you will find a suitor that isn't looking to get him at a steep discount thought. Likely, trading him right now at a discount doesn't make sense for your team. You are likely going to end up getting offers for him that are easy to turn down.

If you don't own Cole there is no harm in reaching out to the owner that rosters him and checking on his availability. Again, it is unlikely that he is looking to move him for a discount. At this point, however, I wouldn't advocate paying full price for Cole as we don't know how all of this is going to play out.

The one thing I will say with some conviction is that while this crackdown is in full effect I am going to take a wait-and-see approach with Gerrit Cole. I do think he is still a good pitcher but I don't expect him to be the elite starting pitcher on a consistent basis like we are used to seeing.

Long story short here is that in nearly all situations you are going to have to be patient and wait to see how this all plays out.  I know that is not the hot take, sexy answer that some of you were looking for but it is the smart and prudent move here. If you find yourself in a situation where you can get him for a discount or get someone to overpay for him then more power to you. I think those opportunities will be few and far between, unfortunately.

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