Pirates prospect interview: Gerrit Cole

Gerrit Cole

Pirates number one draft pick Gerrit Cole took the mound on Tuesday and was easily the big draw at minor league camp. As a small crowd viewed the 2.5-inning simulated game, the right-hander was topping out at 98 MPH and flashing a 91 MPH slider.

PiratesDugout.com's George Von Benko caught up with Cole to talk about his game and how he's improving within the Pirates organization.

George Von Benko:: How did you feel about your throwing in the simulated game?

Gerrit Cole: It was fine. Catcher Kris Watt and I were on the same page as the game moved along and it was fun to get out there. It was good to get out there and have some fun. The pitches were good. I'd like better location, but that's to work on.

GVB: The Pirates are concerned about fastball command with their minor league pitchers. Are they going to limit your repertoire and let you work on fastball command?

GC: I'm not on that same track as Jameson Taillon. I'm a little older and the reins are cut loose and I'll be able to go deep into ball games and really get going right out of the chute, just put the main focus on consistency with my delivery.

GVB: How comfortable are you with all the pitches in your arsenal?

GC: Ideally, you would like to be comfortable throwing all your pitches for strikes in any count and that's what you work towards. Realistically that probably doesn't happen. Some days you have better command of some pitches and not so good with others. I throw a fastball, a slower slurve, a slider and a change up.

GVB: You went to an instructional league and then pitched in the Arizona Fall League. Was that a good experience?

GC: Yea, it was fun. I was itching to get back out there after two-and-a-half months. It was good to come down here and get revved up and I played against really good competition in Arizona -- a little different kind of baseball out there, but it's challenging for sure.

GVB: When I spoke with you right after you signed, you said there were some subtle changes the Pirates wanted to make. Your pitches wouldn't flatten out, which was a problem you had in college. Have they tinkered at all with you?

GC: It's the same delivery. I'm really staying back longer to eliminate some of those flat pitches and keep the ball down in the zone but still be able to change eye level when you need to.

GVB: Are you excited to begin the journey to the big leagues?

GC: Yea, it's fun, just new experience after new experience.

GVB: You soaked up some things at big league camp. Pitching coach Ray Searage joked that you were as quiet as a church mouse. Is that true?

GC: You can't go into major-league camp cocky. You've got to pay your dues and respect the game and respect the veterans.

GVB: You may start out at Single A Bradenton. Are they still deciding that and are you hoping to move quickly through the system?

GC: Ultimately, the front office is going to make those decisions and I'm just going to try not to focus too much on moving up and try to take care of my business day-to-day. They haven't expressed a specific game plan or a specific innings limit or anything like that.

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