Apr 28, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher A.J. Cole pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
A.J. Cole: Pros
The Nationals have made very little secret about their plans for A.J. Cole. It’s been obvious to anyone who follows the team that they consider him an enormous asset and one of the key building blocks to the future of their fantastic pitching rotation. He’s widely considered to be one of the best prospects not only in the Nationals farm system, but across the entire Minor Leagues.
This, of course, is exactly the reason that using Cole to fill in for Doug Fister, should he miss extended time, makes so much sense. If he’s expected to contribute as a regular starter in the (likely very) near future, it behooves the Nationals to get Cole as much starting experience in the Majors as they can before they tag him to be a pitcher making thirty starts a season. While getting time as an everyday player in the Minors is nice, there’s no substitute for real time in the big league. Plus, having him pitch out of the bullpen isn’t the same as making big league starts.
Obviously, the one criticism that most (including myself) could make was Cole’s catastrophic first start. While it’s true that game was a disaster, it was also just one star. It’s reasonable to assume that a lot of Cole’s control issues stemmed from nerves more than anything else. He’s likely to be much more under control in any starts he might be given.
Plus, the Nats can’t make a decision like this based solely off of the results of one start.
Next: Case Against A.J. Cole