Yankees' Gerrit Cole favored to finally win first AL Cy Young in 2022
For the third straight season, Gerrit Cole is the early favorite to win the AL Cy Young Award, as he currently sits on the board at +500. Cole has had a solid first two campaigns with the New York Yankees, but neither was good enough to earn the hardware, as he finished fourth and second, respectively, in the Cy Young voting.
Will this be the year that “The Cole Train” finally breaks through, or will another AL pitcher spoil the party once again? Let’s investigate.
American League CY Young Award 2022
Fri, September 30 2022, 10:00 PM
McCullers Jr, Lance
The case for Cole
The biggest thing Cole had going for him in the Cy Young voting last season was wins, as he paced the AL with 16. It certainly helped that he was on a perennial playoff contender in the Yankees. But Cole was second to eventual winner Robbie Ray in WAR (6.7 to 5.7) and strikeouts (248 to 243) while starting two fewer games.
Cole likely lost a lot of support in September, when he produced a 5.13 ERA over six outings. That staggering finish was surprising, as it wasn’t too long ago that he went on a prolonged run of dominance from the middle of the regular season into the playoffs for the 2019 Houston Astros. Cole won 20 games that year, and paced the AL in both ERA (2.50) and strikeouts (326), but lost the vote to teammate Justin Verlander.
While the Bombers have seen glimmers of that version of Cole over the last two seasons, he hasn’t been able to sustain that form throughout an entire year. If he does, he’ll be hard to hold off in the 2022 Cy Young voting.
The case against Cole
A lack of consistency in pinstripes hasn’t helped Cole, and a quiet Yankees offseason works against him too if he wants to pick up wins.
Despite a glut of premier shortstop options on the market in the likes of Carlos Correa and Trevor Story, New York has been targeting “stopgap” trade candidates like Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Andrelton Simmons at the position, seemingly in order to save room for top prospect Anthony Volpe to step in.
While bringing in a Gold Glover on defense might help Cole’s ERA, he could use more run support in order to secure wins. Cole might rather have a Gold Glove at catcher instead of shortstop, as he’s been forced to pitch to backup Kyle Higashioka rather than Gary Sanchez due to the latter’s struggles behind the plate.
Don’t sleep on Bassitt
The Oakland A’s Chris Bassitt (+1800) was beginning to build steam toward 2021 Cy Young consideration when he was unfortunately drilled by a comebacker in mid-August, effectively ending his season.
Despite being limited to 27 starts, Bassitt produced career-highs in wins (12), win % (.750), WHIP (1.06), strikeout/walk ratio (4.1), and WAR (4.0) last season. Bassitt being third-choice on his own team (Sean Manaea is +1000, Frankie Montas is +1300) seems absurd, so savvy bettors should jump on him at a very generous price.