Gerrit Cole has been a crucial contributor to the Yankees‘ season thus far. He is not only performing at an ace level but is quite literally carrying the rotation on his back. In games that Cole starts, the Yanks have a 7-0 record. In games without him, they stand at 9-15. Cole has silenced all doubters with his exceptional play, even earning the April AL Pitcher of the Month award. In short, without Cole, the team would be in serious trouble as we progress through May.
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Gerrit Cole’s exceptional performance for the Yankees:
When Cole takes the mound, there is confidence that the team can secure a victory. This is evidenced by their perfect record in his starts. He has been dominant in every sense of the word and is on track for a potential career year with the team. In the 46.2 innings pitched this season over his seven starts, he has posted a 1.35 ERA and a 2.17 FIP. Cole leads all AL pitchers in fWAR with 1.9, second only to Zac Gallen’s 2.0 in all of baseball.
As expected, Cole has been racking up strikeouts, but he has also managed to limit home runs, which was an issue for him last season. With a 10.03 K/9 and a mere 2.70 BB/9, he has been successful in keeping the ball in the park. His 0.00 HR/9 and 0.0% HR/FB% are the best in baseball, addressing any concern fans had last season. By improving his location, aggressively targeting corners with his fastball, and effectively using his knuckle curve and changeup, Cole has been phenomenal.
Without Cole’s outstanding performance, the team would be in a precarious situation. The ongoing absence of Rodón is cause for concern, especially if his back tightness cannot be directly attributed to a specific issue. Cole will need to continue his exceptional pitching to secure wins for the team. Though Severino’s return is anticipated, Nestor also needs to refine his performance after a disastrous previous start.
Cole prevents mistakes from costing the team:
Left off numerous publications’ lists of best pitchers, Gerrit Cole seems to have taken the snub personally, à la Michael Jordan. While the Yankees have had mixed results with recent acquisitions, Cole’s tenure has been highly productive. This year could be his best season yet, and it comes when the team needs him most. Cole has stepped up in a significant way and rarely allows baserunners to score.
With an 84.1% LOB%—good for seventh in the AL—Cole has demonstrated an ability to keep runs off the board, even after the Guardians managed to score a few in their last matchup. Facing Cleveland is challenging due to their ability to draw walks, despite their lack of slugging or hitting power. Cole was able to navigate through some struggles and deliver another excellent start, allowing the offense to regain the lead in the later stages of the game. Currently the best Yankee on the team, it seems unlikely that Cole will be dethroned as the best in the AL anytime soon.