Gerrit Cole had the big arm that screamed future big leaguer as a sophomore in high school. The strong frame that helped fuel the unhittable fastball and an intense approach turned up the volume.
Yet, the baseball galaxy is littered with Can’t-Miss-Prospects who didn’t make it to the major leagues. Injuries left promising careers on the Single-A bus rides. Others didn’t work at it or weren’t smart enough. Most weren’t good enough outside the cozy high school environment.
Then there was Cole, who blazed through Orange Lutheran High School in Southern California, starred at UCLA, reached the big leagues with the Pirates, who took him with the first pick of the 2011 draft, and dominated for the Astros the past two years when he went 35-10 with a 2.68 ERA.
All of that success led to the 29-year-old right-hander signing a record-breaking nine-year contract with the Yankees for a whopping $324 million last week.
Nobody could have predicted all that success in 2006 when Cole was a sophomore and getting his first taste of high school baseball in a region that consistently houses elite talent. Still, the arm strength that is a must as a pitcher climbs the ladder and…