In spite of his struggles at High-A Stockton in the California League in his one year in the Oakland A's system in 2012, D.C. GM Mike Rizzo was confident when he reacquired Nats' 2010 4th Round pick A.J. Cole that the right-hander would quickly get back on track developmentally.
"We scouted him quite a bit this season and believe me," the Nationals' general manager told reporters last winter. "I have a lot of experience with that California League and that California League has made a mockery of a lot of good starting pitchers. His stuff was fine. His delivery wandered a little bit throughout the season. He righted the ship when they sent him to the Midwest League and dominated that league as a 20-year-old, so we feel that he's on course."
With the Stockton Ports, Cole was (0-7) in eight starts and 38 IP in which he had a 7.82 ERA, a 4.99 FIP, 10 walks (2.37 BB/9) and 31 Ks (7.34 K/9). When he went to the Low-A Midwest League's Burlington Bees, the 6'4'' right-hander was (6-3) in 19 starts and 95.2 IP over which he walked 19 (1.79 BB/9) and K'd 102 (9.60 K/9).
"His developmental curve is on track," Rizzo said, "and we're going to get him with our pitching people and kind of straighten out his delivery and I think that this guy will be a quick mover for us from this point forward." Cole started the 2013 campaign at Class-A Potomac, where the 21-year-old starter is (6-3) with a 4.25 ERA, 3.54 FIP, 23 BB (2.13 BB/9) and 102 Ks (9.43 K/9) in 18 starts and 97 1/3 IP so far this season.
Cole was chosen to replace Nats' prospect Taylor Jordan in last weekend's All-Star Futures game since Jordan was busy starting in the majors. Cole earned the save for the U.S. Team on Sunday afternoon in Citi Field. This morning, Cole was promoted to Double-A Harrisburg:
The #nats promoted AJ Cole to Double-A Harrisburg today. Cole was just in the Futures Game two weekends ago.— Amanda Comak (@acomak) July 23, 2013
A.J. Cole was promoted from Class A to AA Harrisburg. Here's a story on him from the Futures Game. http://t.co/vzQY57rLNm— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) July 23, 2013
Official: RHP A.J Cole & RHP Richie Mirowski promoted to Harrisburg. RHP Blake Treinen placed on DL. RHP Paul Demny transferred to Potomac.— Harrisburg Senators (@HbgSenators) July 23, 2013