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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: GERRIT COLE DONE FOR 2016, AVOID IN 2017

The Pittsburgh Pirates did the only sensible thing they could do with ace SP Gerrit Cole on Tuesday when they finally announced they were shutting him down for the remainder of 2016.   The premature ending to his season was the topper on what was a truly rough campaign for Cole coming off his dominant 2015 when he registered a 2.60 ERA and 202 strikeouts as he won 19 games for the Pirates.  It appeared as though the arm trouble that plagued Cole while coming up the Pittsburgh minor league system was a thing of the past and so it was no shock that he was drafted to be a fantasy baseball ace for 2016.  Well from the beginning Cole looked nothing like he did just the year prior, with the first indication of trouble showing up in a lowered K/9 from April on.  Consider that in 2015 Cole's K/9 was an impressive 8.74 and just a year later, he would finish at a more mediocre 7.60.  The fastball veliocity was also down a bit which again showed up in the lowered K rate.  Soon the injuries began to show up as Cole started feeling pain his elbow and forearm.  This was a very scary thing as often pain in these areas can lead to Tommy John surgery.  That was avoided but Cole was an injury mess the second half of the season and his last ditch attempt to come back in September was an abject failure as he was bombed in his one start and then shut down. 

Now as we look toward 2017, the only choice that can be made with Cole from our vantage point is to ignore him completely when it comes to the draft.  There is major injury risk here and the ongoing elbow problems portend to more trouble ahead.  Tommy John surgery can be a solution at any time and so there is no need to invest here given the risk.  Take Cole completely off your cheat sheets already. 


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