Yankees: Getting to know right-handed pitcher A.J. Cole


Following the Yankees beat-down of the Twins 14-1, general manager Brian Cashman sent cash considerations to the Nationals for 26-year-old, right-handed pitcher, A.J. Cole.

On Monday night, David Hale tossed two scoreless innings for the Yankees, as they walked all over the Twins in the first of a four-game set. What did Hale get as his reward? How about being designated for assignment.

Hale’s departure comes on the heels of the Yanks sending cash considerations to the Nationals for A.J. Cole; a fourth-round draft pick back in 2010.

Considered by many, at the time, as a first-round talent, Cole had already committed to the University of Miami; which combined with his demand for a lofty signing bonus, slightly diminished his stock.

However, Cole did receive a $2 million bonus, the highest-ever for a fourth-round draft pick.

Just one year later, Cole was involved in the blockbuster Gio Gonzalez deal. He, along with Derek Norris, Tommy Milone and Brad Peacock were all sent to the Oakland A’s for the left-handed Gonzalez.

Cole’s stay in Oakland was a brief one, as the Nationals reacquired him in 2013 as part of a three-team trade that saw Michael Morse head the Mariners and John Jaso to the A’s.

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Cole began this season as the Nats’ fifth-starter before being shuttled off to the bullpen and eventually DFA’ed last Friday, to make room for Jeremy Hellickson.

On the year, Cole appeared in four contests (two starts), going 1-1 with a 13.06 ERA, 2.129 WHIP and 10:6 K:BB ratio in 10.1 innings pitched. Over parts of four big league seasons, he’s gone 5-8 with a 5.32 ERA, 1.509 WHIP and 102:48 K:BB ratio in 110 innings.

Though Cole’s numbers are nothing to write home about just yet, he boasts a four-pitch arsenal which consists of a 93-mph fastball, 83-mph slider, 80-mph changeup and 79-mph curveball.

The Yankees must believe that the 2015 No. 52 overall prospect, can potentially thrive in the bullpen thanks to his career 8.3 K/9.

According to Brooks Baseball, in 2017, Cole’s curveball held the opposition to a .167 batting average, while his slider was almost as effective at .196.

With Adam Warren and Luis Cessa both currently on the 10-day DL — and Cole out of minor league options, he’ll likely be asked to eat innings as the team’s long man for the time being.

All-in-all, Cole is a low-risk move, the type Bran Cashman has been privy to since before Spring Training began. Should Cole finally harness the kind of control that saw race through the minors during the early stages of his career, the Yankees could be pleasantly surprised.

Next: In search of the Yanks' next great starting pitcher

Personally, I’ll be rooting for Cole, as he is a fellow resident of Oviedo, Fla; which is just outside Orlando, some five miles from The University of Central Florida, home of the undefeated National Champion, Knights!