Hinch arranges for star prospect to pick brain of Cy winner

March 4th, 2024

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tigers manager A.J. Hinch managed Gerrit Cole when both were Astros, and he knew how much , his current club’s top pitching prospect, admired the 2023 American League Cy Young Award winner for the Yankees.

So Hinch made Jobe -- a nonroster invitee who hasn’t yet seen Grapefruit League action -- part of the Detroit team that traveled down Interstate-4 from Lakeland to George M. Steinbrenner Field for Sunday’s game.

“That’s cool,” said Jobe, 21, the No. 25 prospect in baseball according to MLB Pipeline. “That’s a guy I’ve looked up to for a very long time. So I was a little nervous going into it for sure. But when we started going, we talked about pitching for like 15-20 minutes nonstop.

“So it was really cool. A lot of information -- a lot of it away from the games, on going about your day-to-day life during the season, in practice, and more so being in it mentally as much as you can. In between outings, getting as many game-like reps as you can. More so mentally than physically, honestly, because you can’t go out there ripping in 'pens like you do in the games. That was the big takeaway for me.”

Jobe was slowed by lumbar spine inflammation last March, but he closed out the season strong at Double-A Erie. Overall, he had a 2.81 ERA with 84 strikeouts in 64 innings and a 2-4 record.

Cole, who is 145-75 with a 3.17 ERA in 11 seasons, also finished second twice in Cy Young voting -- in 2019 with Houston and '21 with the Yankees.

Jobe and Cole conversed in the concourse that connects the home and visitors' clubhouses.

“You want to pick his brain along with all the guys we have here,” said Jobe. “It feels like three months that I’ve been here, but it’s been three weeks. I’ll remember that one [conversation with Cole] for a while and, hopefully, we’ll be squaring off against each other sometime soon.

“That would be cool. That would be a lot cooler. But we’ll see. He was a great dude to talk to, and how awesome he is on the mound.”

What attracted him to following Cole?

“[He’s] probably the best pitcher of this generation,” said Jobe. “That will usually do it. Yeah, and he’s a pro, the way he handles himself off the field as well as on the field. He commands respect with how he plays.

“He’s not going to be the loudest guy out there, but he dominates you, and that’s how he goes about business.”

Jobe said he never had posters of Cole up in his room, but added, “I was a big Tim Lincecum guy. So I had all my Tim Lincecum stuff. But Gerrit, we’ll put him on No. 2.”

Lincecum won the Cy Young for the Giants in 2008 and '09.

Hinch told Jobe “about a week ago” that the meeting had been arranged.

“He loves the game, as do I,” said Jobe of Cole. “…I only asked one question. I was just trying to sit there and soak it all up, and let him do the talking.”

Detroit picked Jobe No. 3 overall in the 2021 MLB Draft out of Heritage Hall High in Oklahoma City, Okla. He was Oklahoma’s Gatorade Player of the Year and signed for a $6.9 million bonus.