Gerrit Cole (New York Yankees) is a fastball pitcher representing the major leagues of American professional baseball. He is called the best pitcher who has not received a Cy Young award. He has been in the top 5 in the Cy Young Award voting five times.
But he has a fatal weakness. Long hits are allowed. He often bowed his head after being hit by a ‘sudden gun’ while displaying the majesty of ‘Unheatable’. It is the price of believing in redemption and throwing it into the middle.
He finished ninth in the Cy Young Young voting, and his earned run average last year was 3.50. It’s Cole’s highest ERA since 2018, when he transformed from a sinkerball pitcher to a four-seam fastball-oriented power pitcher.
He gave up 33 home runs, the most in the league last season, and earned the stigma of being a “home run factory manager.” 16 of them were hit while throwing four-seam fastballs. His four-seam fastball was predictable with a high rate of use, and too many of them went to the middle of the zone.
That call has changed this season. There was no home run in 40.2 innings in 6 games until the game against the Texas Rangers on the 28th 스포츠토토(Korean time). He has 5 wins with a 1.11 earned run average. Some experts are already predicting that he will win the video between the first days of his life.
what would have changed
American Sports Illustrated (SI) analyzed.
Cole’s fastball (four-seam fastball) this season has a subtle but important difference from last season.
His average velocity decreased by about 1 mile (1.6 km) per hour, from 97.8 miles (157.4 km) to 96.8 miles (155.8 km). The usage rate increased from 51.9% to 53.8%. Despite the drop in velocity, the slugging percentage dropped significantly from 0.420 to 0.175.
The key is to increase control instead of lower velocity. To this end, Cole adjusted his pitching form. He increased the vertical release point and narrowed the extension (the distance to the fingertips that are dragged out after stepping on the footrest when throwing). He raises his arm a little higher and pitches with a shorter stride.
The release point (hand height when throwing) increased from 5.78 inches to 5.90 inches, and the extension decreased from 6.5 inches to 6.3 inches. Reduced power for better command ability.
According to Statcast, when the ball leaves Cole’s hands, his head and hands are about 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) higher than they were last year. This is because he shortens his stride so he doesn’t come far off the mound. Cole shortened his release extension point by nearly 2.5 inches (6.35 cm). It’s a subtle change, but it’s helping Cole hit his fastball better.
If you look at Cole’s fastball heat map for 2022 and 2023, you can feel the change.
It can be seen that the impact point, which was mainly concentrated in the middle of the strike zone, has moved to the high corner of the body for right-handed batters.
Cole logged 99 mph 17 times last April. Only three times this month (excluding the Texas game). However, Cole, who is aiming for his first time video, is proving that control is more important than his fastball velocity.