Yankees: 3 Players Who Could Struggle in Shortened Season

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3. Gerrit Cole

Gerrit Cole #45 of the New York Yankees (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The Yankees’ new ace may need a few starts before he feels comfortable.

Although every player will be faced with unfamiliar surroundings when the 2020 season begins, Gerrit Cole will also be debuting as the newest Yankees superstar. Like other big-name players on the move this offseason (Mookie Betts and Josh Donaldson), Cole will need a few games to become familiar with his new situation.

Remember C.C. Sabathia back in 2009? In his first start, the left-hander allowed six earned runs to the Baltimore Orioles. After a month in pinstripes, his 4.85 ERA in 39 innings was concerning.

Of course, things would turn around for Sabathia and he would become a staple in the rotation for a decade, but the early-season struggles were well-documented for the high-priced free agent.

Unfortunately for Cole, the shortened season will amplify his struggles. If he’s sitting with an ERA in the high-4s a month into the season, you can bet the Yankees fan base will be at DEFCON level 5. Let’s also not forget his wife, Amy, just gave birth to their first child, so Cole will (likely) be away from his son for most of the year. That could affect his mental state.

Statistically, Cole has proven to be a quick starter. In the months of March and April, he has a 2.85 ERA in 202.1 innings, with his second-best per month WHIP of 1.05. We’re sure hoping his penchant for pitching in high-stakes situations translates quickly, because every game matters.