Gerrit Cole and Kyle Higashioka delivered heartwarming surprise to scout who drafted them
By Adam Weinrib
Gerrit Cole had a great idea to surprise the Yankees scout who originally drafted both him and Kyle Higashioka.
Gerrit Cole’s Yankees journey began in earnest in late 2019, but the benchmarks he achieved with the organization certainly predate him signing a nine-year, $324 million contract.
His childhood fandom is well-documented, and it all built to a high school graduation in 2008 and a decision that had to be made: sign with the Yankees after being selected in the first round, or join Trevor Bauer in a stacked UCLA rotation?
Cole ultimately opted to follow a more winding road to the Bronx, but you can’t fault David Keith for trying. Keith was the scout responsible for the selection of Cole back in ’08 — and while he was watching the flame-throwing righty deal, he also stumbled upon a So Cal catcher named Kyle Higashioka, whom he convinced the Yanks to nab in the seventh round of the very same draft out of Edison High School in Huntington Beach.
It seems that Cole and Higashioka will be paired for the foreseeable future, but yes, this duo goes back a lot farther than just a few hot starts.
Back in high school, the two competed 18 miles apart at different academies and, as is often the case in constricted regions like Anaheim, Higgy ended up catching Cole on a few All-Star teams back in the day.
It’s quite likely that Keith scouted these exact games, and though the road was long, the two California products are now front and center as the Yankees’ postseason journey moves on.
In case you were wondering, yes, the two Yankees kept their gesture a secret. And yes, the ball made it to its intended destination.
Imagine being David Keith? You think you have a coup in Cole back in ’08, he doesn’t sign, and you feel like you blew it.
Little do you know he comes back over a decade later, your catcher makes the bigs, too, and they both never forgot what you meant to them.