Gerrit Cole is already looking dominant for the New York Yankees.
Gerrit Cole was about as dominant as a pitcher can be in 2019 with the Houston Astros. He went 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA and an insane 326 strikeouts in 212.1 innings. Yet he once again failed to win his first Cy Young Award, as teammate Justin Verlander took home the honors.
Cole is doing all right, however, with his new nine-year, $324 million contract with the New York Yankees. The team finally landed its white whale and he is already dominating in intra-squad action as the Yankees prepare for the season.
The ace took the mound Sunday and proceeded to mow down Yankees hitters with ease.
Cole is an early AL Cy Young favorite.
Cole was arguably robbed of the 2019 Cy Young Award by his own teammate. He led the league in ERA, strikeouts and K/9, but the voters favored Verlander.
The three-time All-Star already showed up in New York as a Cy Young favorite. But factor in the long shutdown and his new contract and it would be easy for Cole to get off to a slow start. That is clearly not the case, and Cole could have finished with 15 strikeouts if he was allowed to go further in Sunday’s exhibition.
The closest Cole has gotten to winning the elusive award came last season with his second-place finish. He also finished fifth in 2018 and had a fourth-place finish back in 2015 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was already considered a top prospect after being drafted No. 1 overall by the Pirates in 2011, but that 2015 season made him a household name across the MLB-viewing world.
However, the Yankees always had their eye on him, and perhaps it is destiny that he wins his first Cy Young with them. The Bronx Bombers drafted Cole at No. 28 overall in the 2008 draft, but the high school product decided to attend UCLA instead.
Being the ace on a team like the Yankees should help Cole’s Cy Young chances as well. The only variable working against him is a shortened season in which one bad start could derail his resume in a year when pitchers may get 10-12 starts.
Cole has the advantage of his reputation this year as he pursues his first Cy Young Award. His work Sunday also shows he is doing just fine with all the variables making this season the most unique in MLB history.