BRADENTON, Fla.  (93-7 The Fan) – When you talk to any of the players or coaches in Bradenton, you really get the feel that they know this is an important season and then you hear them talk about how the catchers mitt pops when Gerrit Cole unleashes his right arm, which is not ordinary.

“I hope not” Cole said, jokingly of course. He knows his right arm is the reason he is where he is and why the Pirates made him the top overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft.

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“I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for that,” Cole said.

He first began to realize he had a shot to be a Major Leaguer in high school. He has been on a steady rise since and on a fast track through the Pirates’ organization since he was selected.

With only two known starters confirmed in that Pirates rotation (A.J. Burnett and Wandy Rodrigiguez) the competition is wide open. You would expect James McDonald to get one of those spots, but that still leaves two spots open and Cole could easily make a case for one of them.

His numbers in his first outing of the spring yesterday won’t knock your socks off: 2 IP 1 hit 1 ER 1 BB 1 K. But, to watch closely, you can see the velocity and movement and you can see where he could be a dominant pitcher for the Pirates in the future.

Could the future be now?

Pirates Pitching Coach Ray Searage is a believer.

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“He has all the talent in the world” Searage said.

He is not worried about his ability to come up and face the pressure of the major leagues because, “He is mature beyond his years,” said Searage.

Cole admits in an interview with The Fan Morning Show that he still has work to do, but that at some point he realizes that at some point you realize baseball is still baseball even at this level.

Will he get that chance in April? He seems like he is a guy that could really help a team in such an important year.

We shall see, but I bet we see him in Pittsburgh sooner than later.

Hear the full interview with Cole here:

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