Cole's Cy Young case, from a different POV

September 25th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Bryan Hoch’s Yankees Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

owns a unique perspective from which to handicap ’s candidacy for the American League’s Cy Young Award.

After partnering with the right-hander for 18 starts this season, helping guide him through some of the most formidable lineups in the world, the injured Yankees catcher has spent most of the past two months scouting Cole’s outings on television from his Texas home.

Trevino’s review? First, he suggests a new camera angle, which he described as a “Trevi Cam” -- a stationary shot of home plate. And second, no one else should be listed in the top spot on voters’ ballots.

“It’s been amazing, man,” said Trevino, who underwent surgery to repair a torn wrist ligament in July. “We know what’s coming, and it should happen. He deserves it. It’s been fun [to watch]. I wish I could have stuck with it the whole time, but for him to do what he’s doing, it’s really cool to see. …

“He’s been wanting that [Cy Young], so hopefully everything goes how it should go. He should be taking one of those home.”

Trevino is, of course, biased -- and surely, catchers around the league might produce compelling arguments for the Mariners’ Luis Castillo, the Twins’ Sonny Gray or the Blue Jays’ Kevin Gausman.

But with one start remaining, Cole appears to have a healthy advantage as he looks to secure his first Cy Young. Cole improved to 14-4 with an AL-best 2.75 ERA in his most recent outing, striking out nine without a walk over eight innings of one-run ball against the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium -- an effort that concluded with Cole tipping his cap to a standing ovation.

Still, as he’s done for weeks, Cole insisted that the award was not on his mind.

“I’ve got to think of answers and mix up the words a little bit, but it’s the same answer,” Cole said. “All I know how to do is just get ready for the next [start].”

Cole’s 2.75 ERA is the lowest by a Yankees starter through his first 32 starts of a season since Ron Guidry’s 1.80 mark helped to secure the Cy Young in 1978. The Yankees haven’t had a Cy winner since Roger Clemens in 2001.

“He’s been completely as advertised, and what we hoped when we started the recruiting process and flew to California [in 2019] to meet with him,” manager Aaron Boone said. "He’s gotten more and more comfortable here and within the organization and his role. I admire how important it is to represent his team and be the ace of the staff for the New York Yankees. He takes that very seriously. He lives that.”

Cole also reached the 200-inning mark that night, the second straight season that he has done so and for the sixth time in his career (also 2015, ’17-’19).

“It’s a nice, round number that pitchers shoot for,” Cole said. “It’s a testament to everybody’s preparation behind the scenes and obviously my teammates on the field, making plays for me and giving me the opportunity to get deep while pitching with a lead. It’s a number that we should all be proud of, I think.”

As catchers Trevino, Kyle Higashioka and Ben Rortvedt can attest, Cole is a perfectionist -- intense and brooding on the day of his starts, intent upon squeezing each ounce of ability from his frame, while amusing and loquacious the other four days between.

Said Rortvedt: “I feel like I’m pretty thorough coming into the day, and he’s always coming in with a little more than me, which always makes me try to dig deeper. He’s finding stuff that I’m not. It’s extremely valuable when you’re able to find holes and expose them.”

Yes, it requires extra energy to handle a Cole game; he demands a lot, but he also produces a lot.

“He’s hungry. They show him on TV all the time in everybody’s ear, and that’s him, 24/7,” said Trevino, who is expected to be ready for Spring Training. “He wants to win a World Series. He wants to do his best. That’s just Gerrit; that’s what he brings to the table and that’s what he does. It’s pretty impressive for him to be locked into a game for that long.”