Big, tall, workhorse body; dominating presence on the mound; low three-quarters arm slot with elite-level arm speed.
Fastball – 94-98 with serious run lower in the velocity band; sinks it when needed; excellent extension with elite command.
Slider – 86-88; 10-4 movement; plus command; hard double-plus breaking action with depth and tilt; tight spin.
Slurve – 81-84; modifies the movement, can throw with 11-5 and 10-4 shape; looser break with plus command; bigger bend.
Change – 87-89; shows fade and tumble; seldom used.
Usage Notes — Cole’s fastball-sinker-slider combo is his bread and butter. Cole works the big fastball early to establish the pitch, but he’s not afraid to mix in some sliders early in the game to get outs. Cole’s fastball can run back over the plate against left-handed batters when he tries to run it in on them. The big righty’s sinker has hard and heavy downward action and he induces a ton of groundballs with the offering.
Cole modifies the break and speed on his breaking ball. The slider is a firm, bat-missing offering that he uses as a put-away weapon. The UCLA product will also vary the looks on his breaking ball with a slower breaker that functions as both a slurve and change of pace from his slider. The slurve works lower in the velocity band and has comparable bat-missing ability to his slider. The 10-4 shape is the better of the two slurves.
Cole doesn’t often use his changeup, but it’s still something to keep in mind. He won’t throw that many, but it can be an absolute weapon against left-handed batters with it’s fade and tumble and will give a completely different look to hitters looking for pitches that break in.
This is going to be a one-start power burst to try and advance, so look for Cole to use everything at his disposal to get outs. I wouldn’t be shocked to see an uptick in changeup usage early to get hitters to look off his usual MO of fastball-sinker-slider. If he works deep into the game, I would expect to see a reduction in changeups and a heavy increase in his two breaking balls and sinker.
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