Ever since Major League Baseball cracked down on foreign substances, Gerrit Cole has not been the same. He’s pitched to a 3.92 ERA and a 3.42 FIP.
Although it is a small sample size, there is evidence to suggest that the Yankees should expect more of the same in the future. The reality is Gerrit Cole might just be a slightly above average pitcher, not the savior of the franchise.
Who is the real Gerrit Cole?
18 starts is not an accurate sample size to judge Cole as a pitcher. Cole has made 18 since the sticky stuff ban, and has been around a league average pitcher.
Yankee fans may deny the reality suggesting it is a small sample size, but Cole’s last 18 starts
have been indicative of the pitcher he was before he arrived in Houston.
In Pittsburgh, Cole pitched to a 3.50 ERA and a 112 ERA+ (100 is league average). Cole was a good pitcher in Pittsburgh, not one to pony up a record setting contract to lure to save your rotation. For reference, former Yankee Masahiro Tanaka had a career 114 ERA+. A good, not great pitcher.
The Houston Effect
The Astros sign stealing scandal helped cover up their reliance on sticky stuff to save struggling pitchers. Whether it was Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, or Charlie Morton, the Astros pitchers magically had their spin rate numbers go through the roof.
Gerrit Cole became a different pitcher the moment he showed up in Houston. He pitched to a 164 ERA+ and was one of the best pitchers in the league. Cole’s increase in spin rate was a main factor in his new found dominance.
Before it was a mystery why Astros pitchers always seemed to find it, now we can tie it to the sticky stuff.
The reality is that Yankee fans should expect Cole to be a slightly above average pitcher in the future. Yes, he has the stuff to get hot in a given postseason, but he also has the potential to light the season on fire.
The Yankees have deeper issues with their roster that will likely keep them from winning a World Series. Their rotation does not have the depth of other postseason teams, such as the Dodgers, Giants, Brewers, and White Sox.
It’s hard to see Jordan Montgomery and Corey Kluber leading the slightly above average Gerrit Cole to the Yankees’ 28th title.