Mar 12, 2015; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher A.J. Cole (69) throws against the New York Mets during the game at Tradition Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
A.J. Cole: Cons
There are several risks that come with starting A.J. Cole, too. After all, he’s only 23 years old, and he has next to zero experience in the big leagues. Excluding Doug Fister, the Nationals already have two starting pitchers in Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg that have struggled this season. Why on earth would they want to add Cole to that mix? Sure, Cole could be fine and his one start could be an aberration, but it’s just as likely that he’s erratic from game-to-game. That’s not what the Nationals need. The Nats need stability and that’s something Cole can’t offer.
If you really want to get Cole some experience in the Major Leagues, the best option for him right now is to do what he did last Friday and pitch a few innings out of the bullpen. The Nationals could use more arms in relief, and putting Cole there offers the best of both worlds: he gets the big league experience, and the Nationals aren’t leveraging every fifth game like they would by making him a starter.
I understand that Cole has been solid in his time with Syracuse over his five starts in spite of having a losing record, but minor league numbers don’t always translate quickly. Cole could manage to find his Major League legs, but how long would that take? Even if Fister is out for an extended amount of time (which seems unlikely), the Nats don’t have time for Cole to figure things out. They need someone who already knows what they’re doing on the mound, and – nothing against Cole – he just doesn’t have that yet.
Next: Who Should Be The 5th Starter?