Gerrit Cole dedicates Cy Young to Yankees, focuses on 2024 title

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Sara Molnick
Friday November 17, 2023

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Yankees ace Gerrit Cole continues to be a humble follower of the team even after becoming the only sixth man in pinstripes to win the Cy Young Award.

“It’s a team effort and a lot of stuff has been reflected in this award,” he said on MLB Network. “It’s just a bit surreal to be regarded with the other five Cy Young Award winners that we’ve had.”

“It makes me tremendously proud that I feel like I’m holding up my end of the bargain to those great players and those great legacies. I’m contributing to the overall brand of what we do in New York.”

Despite being the clear favorite, Gerrit Cole had a heartfelt reaction when his name was announced by Hall of Famer Greg Maddux on the MLB Network awards show. While the outcome was predetermined, hearing the official declaration clearly carried special meaning for the Yankees ace.

Gerrit Cole: The Yankees brand power

Gerrit Cole dominated throughout 2022, leading AL pitchers in ERA, innings pitched, WHIP, WAR, and other categories. His victory marked the first Cy Young of Cole’s career. A lifelong Yankee fan, the ace has now cemented his place in franchise lore. He joins a select group of historic Bronx hurlers to capture pitching’s top honor. Gerrit Cole pitched himself into the record books this season, furthering his childhood dream of stardom in pinstripes.

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole
MLB

Even if the Cy Young result was preordained, Gerrit Cole’s authentic response underscored his appreciation. His dominant campaign was a testament to perseverance and an unrelenting work ethic. The Yankees ace earned this accolade through sheer will and determination. His emotional reaction reflected the long, rewarding journey to reach this pinnacle.

Gerrit Cole expressed his sentiments during a conference call following his unanimous victory, mentioning how proud he was to be among the five Yankees Cy Young Award winners. He praised the history of exceptional pitchers and players who have been part of the organization, citing them as inspirations and standards to emulate both on and off the field. Gerrit Cole highlighted how witnessing these figures as a child had motivated him and how living his dream now sets a standard for him. He conveyed a tremendous sense of pride in feeling like he was fulfilling his part in upholding the legacies of those great players and contributing to the overall essence of the Yankees’ brand.

Yankees ace sets sight on World Series

While being recognized with personal accolades like the Cy Young Award holds significance, Gerrit Cole acknowledges that, as a Yankee, the ultimate goals and expectations extend beyond individual achievements. Despite the recognition of his outstanding season, the context is shadowed by the Yankees’ failure to make the playoffs in 2023, attributed to issues like flawed roster construction, underperforming components, and a series of injuries.

“It’s one of the things that I wanted to do when I came to New York,” Gerrit Cole said on MLB Network. “The other thing, winning the World Series, we’re still working towards that and we’ll take another step forward towards that next year.”

Gerrit Cole, though faultless in his consistent performance throughout the year, understands that true success for a season in the Bronx is defined by the Yankees emerging as the last team standing.

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole gets a standing ovation from the crowd after pitching against the Blue Jays on Sept 21, 2023, at Yankee Stadium.
NYY

Gerrit Cole conveyed on MLB Network that winning the Cy Young Award was a reflection of the collective team effort, emphasizing that it was a goal he aimed for upon joining New York. Additionally, he mentioned another aspiration of winning the World Series, stating that the team is still working toward that objective and plans to progress further in that direction in the upcoming year.

The Yankees‘ prospect of contending for a championship in the upcoming year hinges on several critical factors. A pivotal element is the organization executing a stellar offseason, making strategic trades and signings to fortify a roster that underperformed with only 82 wins this year. The team places its hopes on veteran players regaining their former prowess and anticipates the development of promising prospects in the spotlight.

While a significant portion of these dynamics is beyond Gerrit Cole’s immediate influence, the ace doesn’t adopt a passive stance, merely awaiting the arrival of Opening Day. He is already proactively considering how he can enhance his performance for the next season, demonstrating an unwavering commitment to continuous learning and growth, thereby setting a commendable example for his teammates.

Gerrit Cole expressed a desire to enhance the command of some of his off-speed pitches, noting the importance of refining the curveball’s accuracy along the plate’s edge. He highlighted how a well-executed curveball adds an additional layer of timing complexity to hitters’ approaches. Additionally, Cole mentioned the ongoing development of his cutter, acknowledging its unpredictability and distinct break from his slider and fastball. He emphasized that the next phase in its evolution would focus on refining its command, intending to utilize it effectively across both sides of the plate and varying its location vertically as well.

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Corey Sipkin/NYP

This constitutes merely the initial part of his response to an inquiry about his priorities leading into the upcoming spring. Gerrit Cole further elaborated on the nuances of his pitching strategy, delving into his comprehension of the analytics associated with his performance and expressing his determination to achieve enhanced outcomes by minimizing slugging and hard contact.

Gerrit Cole mentioned that those considerations were among the immediate matters they were deliberating on or pondering at the moment.

If Gerrit Cole can elevate the consistency of his supplementary pitches, it will enhance his already elite four-seam fastball. According to Statcast’s run value metric, his fastball ranked as the best single pitch in baseball this year. Just imagine the added challenge for hitters when his curveball and cutter reach the effectiveness level of his slider and changeup. It’s challenging to bet against someone so devoted and passionate about their craft, especially a skilled individual with a history of continuous improvement and adaptation over an already illustrious career.

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