It’s no surprise, but it’s now official: Gerrit Cole is the American League Cy Young Award winner.
This is the first prize awarded to New York Yankees as.
The Yankees signed the No. 1 pick in 2011 to the largest contract ever given to a pitcher (nine years, $324 million) before the 2020 season, and like most Bronx superstars, it’s been a love affair -hate.
Cole’s talent has always been clear, but questions arose when he couldn’t even get through three innings in the 2021 AL wild-card game (albeit injured), and he may have had the most disappointing season of his career in 2022. Fans started to wonder if he was the product of a sticky gimmick and if he was truly an ace.
Well, it is. He led the AL with a 2.63 ERA (second in MLB) and 209 innings (third), and his 0.98 WHIP was the best mark in all of baseball. He also led the majors with two shutouts while his 222 strikeouts were third in the AL and fifth in the majors.
Cole had been the favorite to win the award when he started the All-Star Game in Seattle, marking the fifth straight time he had won All-Star honors (there was no mid-major classic). summer in 2020). His final start was his second shutout of the season, which all but confirmed he would win the award – although it came at the expense of the Yankees’ worst record since 1992, as they finished 82-80 and missed the playoffs for the first time since. 2016.
This is Cole’s first time winning the hardware. He finished second in 2021 and 2019, fourth in 2020 and 2015, fifth in 2018 and ninth in 2022.
Cole had been the heavy favorite at the end of 2021, but when he suffered a hamstring injury in September, he allowed 15 earned runs over his final 17.2 innings, letting the award pass to Robbie Ray. Some also believe he was robbed in 2019 when he lost to then-teammate Justin Verlander in 2019. So maybe this is a long time coming for the 33-year-old.
Of course, given New York’s expectations, his contract will only be considered a success on the basis of how many championships he wins in the Bronx, not how many Cy Young Awards he wins (he has no titles, four years early).
Cole can opt out of his contract after this season, so perhaps he could seek another deal if he repeats this season’s success. And who’s to say it can’t happen?