Alright, I admit that I have done it too. I have envisioned the new ace of the New York Yankees winning 25 games, and having the greatest season for a starting pitcher in history. I’ve envisioned Gerrit Cole striking out 350 batters with an ERA near 2.
I’ve envisioned him pitching a shutout in the clinching game for the Yankees as they win their 28th World Series. Can you see it? You can almost feel the Champagne yourself right?
Why shouldn’t you have those expectations when the Yankees just shelled out $324 million for this superstar pitcher. Well, we have to remember this is Cole’s first year in New York. Gerrit Cole is coming off the best year of his career and the New York expectations have never been higher, but what should the expectations really be for Gerrit Cole? Should they be as lofty as the expectations above or should they be tapered down just a little?
First Year with the New York Yankees
In 2019, Gerrit Cole was incredible. Cole dominated baseball with a 20-5 record, striking out 326 batters while having a 2.50 ERA. No question, in my opinion, he should have been the Cy Young over Justin Verlander, but that is a different argument for a different day. Anyone could make the statement that Cole is the best pitcher in baseball and you would get no argument from me.
I think Cole has the best stuff, he has a nasty attitude when he’s on the mound, and he’s supremely confident. He dives deep into analytics and is constantly looking for ways to improve his performance on the field. However, the first year in New York is a daunting year for any superstar. We’ve seen it with Giancarlo Stanton, Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemens, and others. There is a huge adjustment to playing in the bright lights on New York and even the best in the game seems to shrink a little in their first year.
While those guys didn’t have bad years at all in their first years with the Yankees, they fell short of the lofty fan expectations. Will Cole fall into that category or is this white whale truly that, a white whale?
To me, I really do think Gerrit Cole is a different animal. He’s the best pitcher in the world, and I think he has a chip on his shoulder to prove that.
There are many in NYC that don’t even believe he’s the best pitcher in the city. I think Cole knows he has a lot to prove, and I expect him to be at the top of his game. That being said, I am expecting his numbers to be slightly down from last season.
Here is my prediction for the 2020 Gerrit Cole line: 21-6, 286 strikeouts, 2.98 ERA. Gerrit Cole’s ERA is going to climb just a little, his strikeouts are going to decrease a little, but he is going to still be the best pitcher in the American League, and I think he is going to get the award he deserved last year and that is the American League Cy Young Award in 2020.