‘Thank you teacher’: Luis Gil to mentor Gerrit Cole after latest gem

Yankees' Luis Gil has another special outing, and gives due credit to his teacher, Gerrit Cole.
Esteban Quiñones
Friday May 24, 2024

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Baseball, like life, often thrives on the strength of mentorship and the wisdom passed down from one generation to the next. For the New York Yankees, this narrative is currently unfolding in the most heartwarming and triumphant of ways. Luis Gil, the young phenom who has taken the mound by storm, recently delivered another stellar performance. However, it was his post-game tribute to his mentor, Gerrit Cole, that truly stole the spotlight.

Gerrit Cole’s replacement, Luis Gil shines again

Luis Gil has been nothing short of a revelation for the Yankees this season. On Thursday, in a pivotal game against the Seattle Mariners, Gil once again displayed his immense talent and poise on the mound. Pitching 6.1 innings of one-hit shutout baseball, Luis Gil led the Yankees to a decisive 5-0 victory, helping them split the four-game series and return to their high-water mark of 18 games over .500.


The game was a testament to Gil’s growth and his ability to dominate. The Yankees’ early offensive support came from homers by Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, both continuing their impressive power displays this season. Juan Soto added to the tally with an RBI single in the seventh inning, further cementing his prowess in clutch situations. Anthony Volpe’s performance, marked by a double and a stolen base, extended his hitting streak to 16 games, the longest for the Yankees since 2017.

Luis Gil’s statistics from this game were astounding. He struck out 10 of the first 11 Mariners, ran only two three-ball counts through five innings, and issued no walks until the sixth inning when fatigue set in. His command was impeccable, throwing strike one to 10 of the first 11 batters. His performance reduced his season ERA to a sparkling 2.11, placing him third in the American League.

Luis Gil’s tribute to professor Cole

Following the game, Luis Gil posted a video on his Instagram story, showcasing a moment that perfectly encapsulated his relationship with Gerrit Cole. The video featured Cole gesturing to Anthony Rizzo to slow Gil down a bit, a subtle but crucial piece of advice. Gil captioned the video with a heartfelt “Thank you teacher,” acknowledging the veteran’s role in his development.

Gil’s admiration for Cole is well-documented. After setting a Yankees rookie record with 14 strikeouts against the White Sox, Gil referred to Cole as his “professor.” Cole, in turn, has praised Luis Gil’s high aptitude and ability to make quick adjustments. Cole’s mentorship has focused on several key aspects: not being overly fine with his fastball, dominating with strike one, securing strikes in 1-1 counts, and maintaining composure when faced with adversity. This guidance has been instrumental in Gil’s rapid ascent.

Yankees' Luis Gil's Instagram story for Cole.
Instagram/ Luis Gil

In many ways, Gil’s progress can be likened to artificial intelligence, continuously learning and improving. His walk percentage has significantly decreased from 13.6% in his first three starts to 7.4% in his last three outings. This refinement in control and command has been a critical factor in his success.

The Gerrit Cole conundrum

As Gerrit Cole nears his return from the injured list, the Yankees face a rather enviable dilemma: how to incorporate their ace back into an already formidable rotation. Cole, who is continuing his recovery and is expected to return within a month, brings with him the pedigree of the 2023 AL Cy Young Award winner. His potential return raises questions about the Yankees’ rotation configuration.

Manager Aaron Boone has remained non-committal about the specifics of the rotation upon Cole’s return. The possibility of adopting a six-man rotation has been floated, a strategy last employed by the Seattle Mariners to ease an arm back from injury. This approach would provide additional rest for the starters, potentially enhancing their effectiveness over the long haul.

However, maintaining a five-man rotation would necessitate a difficult decision on who might be the odd man out. Clarke Schmidt, despite his generally solid performances, has shown occasional inconsistency, making him a potential candidate for a different role, including tipping pitches. The Yankees’ starters currently boast the third-lowest ERA in the league and are tied for the second-lowest opponent batting average, underscoring the effectiveness of the current rotation.

In the interim, the Yankees have thrived on the strength of their pitching depth. The Cole-less rotation of Gil, Nestor Cortes, Carlos Rodon, Clarke Schmidt, and Marcus Stroman has been stellar, maintaining a collective ERA of 2.85. Gil’s contributions have been particularly noteworthy, with his current run of five consecutive wins and a 0.59 ERA over his last five starts. For now, the Yankees rotation looks as formidable as ever, giving Gerrit Cole no reason to rush through his rehab. What do you think? Leave your comment below!

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