10 MLB players who have already eclipsed their 2017 performance

10 MLB players who have already eclipsed their 2017 performance

Chin Music Baseball

10 MLB players who have already eclipsed their 2017 performance

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Jul 9, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) reacts after getting an out during the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Gerrit Cole, SP, Houston Astros

2017 fWAR: 3.1

2018 fWAR (so far): 3.5

Just about everything has improved this year for Gerrit Cole (outside of his ground-ball rate). The most noticeable improvements are his strikeout rate (35.2%) and swinging-strike rate (14.1%).

The right-hander has been leaning on his breaking pitches more than ever to get this done, too — Cole’s 21.8% slider rate and 19.4% knuckle curveball rate are both on track to be single-season career highs. Those offerings have produced strikeout rates of 39.5% and 42.6%, respectively, so far this year, which are sizable increases from 2017 (33.1% and 30.7%).

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