New York Yankees 2020 Projection: Gerrit Cole

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 18: Gerrit Cole speaks to the media at Yankee Stadium during a press conference at Yankee Stadium on December 18, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 18: Gerrit Cole speaks to the media at Yankee Stadium during a press conference at Yankee Stadium on December 18, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

The New York Yankees most prized free-agent signing of the last decade is Gerrit Cole and he can be the missing link to another World Series championship.

There is still no telling when the 2020 MLB season will start as the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread throughout the world. With that being said it is never too early to predict how the season will play out and more specifically how the players on the Yankees will play once the season starts.

Last week I started something called the “Yankee of the Day” and the first player was Aaron Judge. Today, I decided to head to the starting rotation to take a look at the player with the most expectations expected of him in 2020, Gerrit Cole.

In December, the Yankees gifted their fans with arguably the best pitcher in the game just in time for Christmas. Gerrit Cole inked the largest contract in MLB history for a pitcher when he agreed to a 9-year contract worth $324 million.

As soon as the news broke that Cole was coming to New York, expectations reached an all-time high. The Yankees have come up short in the last three seasons during the playoffs and Brian Cashman believes that Cole could be that missing piece to the 28th World Series championship that has eluded the Yankees for 10 years.

Cole is easily one of the top five of pitchers in the game today and headlined the free-agent class this off-season which led to the Yankeesofeering him the most lucrative deal for a pitcher ever. When it comes to spending over the last 5 or 6 years, New York has spent wisely and built their team from the farm system via trades and the draft.

While there are still some large contracts on the books for 2020, Cashman went all in for Cole. Hopefully, Cole is up for the challenge. I don’t think Hal Steinbrenner would’ve dealt all that money for a player unless everyone involved thought he would be that piece that separates the Yankees from the other teams in the AL East, and the rest of Major League Baseball.

Opening Day was supposed to take place last week and Cole was penciled in to start his first regular-season as a Yankee. However, circumstances outside of the world of sports put a hold on that and now we have to wait at least a few more months before we see him dawn the pinstripes (hopefully). Until that day finally comes, let’s take a look at how Cole will fare in his first season in the Bronx.

Cole has spent the last two years in Houston and they were the top two seasons of his career. In 2019 specifically, he had his best season in innings pitched, wins, ERA and strikeouts. This offseason he Yankees struck while the iron was hot and snagged him before anyone had a chance to lure him away from the Bronx.

He won 20 games last season while striking out 326 batters to go along with 2.50 era in 212 innings. Those numbers certainly won’t be duplicated in 2020 because the schedule will be shortened significantly and that is a shame that Yankee fans will miss out on a full season of Cole in pinstripes.

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The rich history of the Yankees is due to the success the franchise has had in the postseason. 27 championships to go along with countless pennants and division titles are the reason why they’ve been one of the most successful franchises in sports.

With that being said, the regular season doesn’t matter in New York because if you don’t bring home the championship, then that season is a failure. However, in Cole’s case, because of that huge contract he signed in December he has to duplicate his numbers from last season unless he wants to hear it from the Yankee faithful.

He started 33 games out of 162 last season so if the schedule is cut down to maybe 100 games then that means he could make approximately between 15-20 starts in 2020. With his electric arsenal of pitches, there is a very good chance that he can only have a couple of losses if we base it on his statistics from last season.

I could see him winning 16 games and posting an era just north of 2 with over 150 strikeouts. But again, those stats do not mean anything unless he helps the Yanks bring the 28th championship in franchise history back to the Bronx.

Three Yankees who will be impacted negatively by the delayed start. dark. Next

Overall, the hopes of a World Series title rely on the entire Yankee roster but the one man who will have a say in whether or not they do in fact go all the way in the Fall Classic is none other than their $324 million man.