At the time, Cole’s development of a killer secondary pitch to complement his fastball was something that was in its infancy.
After bursting onto the scene in 2013 with a fastball that could tap 100mph on radar, Cole showed a greater reliance on his fastball while still mixing in his sinker, slider, and curveball.
He even put an emphasis on his still-burgeoning changeup early in the season before that, too, which also took a backseat to the heat.
Despite that emphasis on secondary pitches, Cole was often forced to go back to the fastball in 2014.
The simple fact is that the changeup, curveball, and sinker were getting knocked around a bit, with line drive rates of 30.43 percent, 35 percent, and 28.07 percent respectively.
The sinking fastball and changeup both had batting averages against of .300 or more, with the changeup also displaying a crooked .643 SLG percentage.
It was clear that Cole was still figuring out which weapon in his arsenal would be that second “go-to” pitch.
Enter the slider.