December 3, 2020

Gerrit Cole vs. Hyun-Jin Ryu: Who Fits Where? (Baseball Essential)


Gerrit Cole is, without question, the top option on the free agent market this offseason. He’s coming off a dominant 2019 season that has continued into October, and he will spend all of 2020 at just 29 years old. My projections are very high for Cole, as they peg him at a 3.09 ERA over 193 innings with a 2.41 BB/9 and an insane 11.03 K/9.

The expectation is that Cole will earn somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 million, which would probably be paid out over a period of seven-to-eight years. Assuming good health, Cole probably has three-to-four prime seasons remaining, meaning he will spend three-to-four seasons of this contract in decline. While it’s impossible to know what past-prime Gerrit Cole will look like, there’s a statistical trend in his more recent numbers that might give some insight.

Cole has seen his home run/fly-ball rate increase by more than double after the 2016 season, which was also the beginning of a trend of increasing fly-ball rates and consequent decreasing ground-ball rates, which culminated in an intersection last season. While Minute Maid Park is notoriously hitter friendly, and could have contributed to this decline, it should be noted that…

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