Yankees’ captain Aaron Judge, ace Gerrit Cole win All-MLB team honors

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole is congratulating Aaron Judge after his 62nd HR on October 5, 2022, at at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
Sara Molnick
Sunday December 17, 2023

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Ace Gerrit Cole and his captain Aaron Judge remained two bright spots in the Yankees’ dismal 2023 season. The top pitcher and batter of the Yankees were recognized on Saturday as both players earned spots on the All-MLB teams presented by MGM Rewards, which were unveiled on MLB Network. The selection criteria focused solely on player performances during the regular season.

Gerrit Cole secured a spot on the All-MLB First Team alongside Zac Gallen (D-backs), Blake Snell (Padres), Shohei Ohtani (Angels), and Spencer Strider (Braves). This marks his third selection to the All-MLB First Team, having previously achieved the honor in 2019 with the Astros and in 2021 with the Yankees.

Aaron Judge earned a place on the All-MLB Second Team outfield, sharing the distinction with Adolis García and Kyle Tucker. He had previously secured a spot on the All-MLB First Team in both 2021 and 2022.

Yankees faltered but Gerrit Cole stood strong

Gerrit Cole, in his 33 starts for the Yankees, achieved a 15-4 record with a 2.63 ERA and 222 strikeouts. He limited opponents to a .206/.259/.322 slash line, allowing 20 home runs. Such impressive statistics led Judge to dub him “the best pitcher in the game,” emphasizing that the Yankees ace sets the standard for what an ace should embody, both on and off the field.

Aaron Judge conveyed that Gerrit Cole had been a devoted fan of the Yankees throughout their life, aspiring to wear the pinstripes and perform in this city. He mentioned that the player’s dream of being in New York and playing for the Yankees had become a reality. He expressed disappointment for the team’s lackluster performance in supporting the ace pitcher during the season, emphasizing the collective desire in the clubhouse to rectify this in the upcoming year. Aaron Judge asserted the team’s commitment to addressing and improving their performance in the following season.

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole

Aaron Judge tried to save the Yankees

As the Yankees neared the conclusion of the 2023 season, which had seen its fair share of disappointing moments, the night of September 27 at Toronto’s Rogers Centre emerged as a highlight, showcasing the team’s top performances.

In a commanding display, Gerrit Cole delivered an outstanding performance, dominating the Blue Jays’ lineup with a two-hit shutout, solidifying his candidacy for the American League Cy Young Award. The offensive support came from Aaron Judge, who contributed two home runs in what would be his final long balls of the year.

It was apt, as noted by manager Aaron Boone, to witness the simultaneous brilliance of two best Yankees.

Across 106 games, the Yankees captain posted a slash line of .267/.406/.613, registering 79 runs, 16 doubles, 37 home runs, 75 RBIs, and 88 walks. His versatility was evident as he played 54 games in right field and 18 in center. Notably, despite a 51-game absence due to injury, Aaron Judge ranked fourth in the AL for home runs, joining Mark McGwire (1995) as one of the few players to hit at least 37 homers in 106 games or fewer.

Gerrit Cole reflected on the possibilities that could have unfolded if Aaron Judge had not collided with a low-lying concrete barrier while pursuing a fly ball on June 3 at Dodger Stadium.

Yankees captain Aaron Judge at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in August 2023.

Gerrit Cole commented on the need for padding in Dodger Stadium, acknowledging that despite this, it had been a remarkable experience observing the mentioned player’s approach to the game. He highlighted the player’s professionalism, noting the significance of adhering to the principle of “Do your job” as professional regardless of the team’s postseason situation. Gerrit Cole praised the Yankees captain’s dedication, mentioning that despite playing through pain and enduring a lengthy rehab process, the player consistently approached every at-bat without conceding any as a testament to their commitment and work ethic.

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