Oakland Athletics: When Will Jharel Cotton Find Consistency?

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 14: Jharel Cotton
OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 14: Jharel Cotton /

The Oakland Athletics have been patient with Jharel Cotton, but how much longer should Cotton get to correct his inefficiencies?

The Oakland Athletics have given Jharel Cotton plenty of time this season to work on some of his inefficiencies. Cotton has provided a few flashes of brilliance this year, but has struggled overall to stay consistent on the mound.

In his last start on Monday night, Cotton logged six innings of work against the Royals. He allowed six runs, 8 hits and walked three in the start. Cotton was relatively steady for much of night until he fell a part in the sixth inning.

In three starts this month, Cotton has gone 0-2 with a 7.94 ERA. On the year, Cotton sits at 5-10 with a 5.92 ERA. He has not won a game since June 23rd, when he won a start against the White Sox.

His best start of the season was back in April when he faced the Royals in Kansas City. He went seven innings and did not allow a run in Oakland’s 2-0 win on April 10th.

That start in Kansas City back in April offered a glimpse of Cotton’s potential. Since then, however, he’s struggled with finding consistency.

Too Many Free Passes

An increase in walks has plagued Cotton this year and have attributed to his rather disappointing 2017 campaign. Last year, Cotton, in minimal action, allowed 1.29 BB/9.

With more exposure this year, however, Cotton has allowed 3.88 BB/9. The lack of command for his pitches have haunted Cotton all season long.

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As for his arsenal of pitches, Cotton has been utilizing his cutter more this year. The results, however, have been mixed. Opponents are hitting .283 against his cutter, according to FanGraphs.com.

Cotton’s best pitch is his change-up. Like with any pitch in his arsenal, however, location is crucial for Cotton. This year, his change-up has helped Cotton record 30 strikeouts (more than any of his other pitches) and opponents are hitting .239 against it.

When Cotton misses the mark, however, the results are less than desirable. He has given up five home runs with the pitch. Cotton’s main focus, at this point, should be demonstrating better control of all his pitches.

Waiting Game

The A’s have been patient with Cotton throughout the year. Will they continue to show patience with Cotton despite his lack of positive results? At this point, the A’s do not have much of a choice other than sticking by Cotton’s side.

Daniel Gossett currently sits in Nashville awaiting another crack at the rotation. If Cotton cannot figure things out, the A’s could give Gossett another look during the finals weeks of the season. Entering next year, the A’s expect plenty of competition among their starting pitchers.

Sean Manaea, Kendall Graveman are essentially locks for the first two spots in the rotation.

After Manaea and Graveman, however, the A’s should have plenty of options. Cotton will need to address his command issues and demonstrate better results with his cutter and sinker if he wants to stick around.

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