‘The People’s Ace’: Yankees’ Nestor Cortes is showing he’s more than just a one-season wonder

nestor cortes jr., yankees

Yankees‘ Nestor Cortes has taken baseball by storm, and this season he is already off to a fast start. In Nestor’s debut showing against the Blue Jays, he made an extremely talented and righty-heavy lineup wither away. Now Nestor isn’t the prototypical “ace” that many flock to, unlike the ones that throw 100+ or have a sinker that dances around the plate; Nestor relies on his command of the strike zone and his delivery to throw off the hitter. 

Take a look at Nestor’s put away pitch here to Vlad Guerrero Jr. in a full count, albeit a poor call from the umpire: 

Last year his average FB velocity was 90.7MPH. Could this mean we haven’t seen the best of Nestor yet? Just prior to that demoralizing strikeout to Vladdy, he struck out Bo Bichette on a high fastball – which registered at 93.6MPH on the gun and was the fastest Nestor has topped out at in a Yankees uniform:

Nestor Cortes has filthy stuff and commands the plate exceptionally well. Since 2021, across 97.1 IP, Cortes boasts a 4.7 K-BB ratio, with a 28% K Rate to go with a measly 6% BB rate.

In an age of baseball where stuff, movement, velocity, and delivery, are all the rave, Nestor continues to prove that his style of pitcher is anything but a dying breed. He doesn’t complain, doesn’t sound off on certain players or situations, just does his job, and competes as hard as anyone in the league. Nestor’s grittiness and complete “no fear” mentality make him an intimidating pitcher and one that gets results. 

In the next inning, Nestor threw a fastball right down the middle of the plate, daring Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to swing at it: 

When Nestor got pulled, the look in his eye said it all. There are few people that want to be taken out of a game, which is understandable, but with Nestor, it’s as if he takes it personally. Dubbing him “The People’s Ace” is overtly fitting, as with a 2.7 ERA & 3.6 FIP since the start of last season, the quality truly is ace worthy. Not to mention, Nestor was Bronxie’s best friend, and that should say more than you need to hear. It’s easy to root for a guy like Nestor because of the person he is but rooting for Nestor, the baseball player, is seemingly just as easy. The Yankees’ ace will most likely take the bump again on Sunday to help the Yanks wrap up the O’s series.