Home News Gerrit Cole on Cy Young track with four-seam fastball uptick

Gerrit Cole on Cy Young track with four-seam fastball uptick

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Gerrit Cole smiled at the premise, claiming it’s not intentional or part of some bigger plan. 

But the numbers speak for themselves

As he is enjoying a lights-out start to the season, Cole has thrown his four-seam fastball on 56.3 percent of his pitches, per Baseball Savant.

That marks a significant increase from last season, when he threw the pitch 51.9 percent of the time and represents the highest percentage he’s ever thrown it throughout his career. 

“I’ve thrown it as high as 70 percent, I’ve thrown it as low as 47 percent [in specific outings], so it’s kind of unpredictable,” Cole told The Post before Monday’s series-opening matchup with the Guardians at Yankee Stadium. “I’ve been able to, more often than not, get it to a spot that I need to get it to. Give myself a chance to get the result I’m looking for. If it happens to be the wrong pitch, at least control the contact to a certain extent.” 

Regardless of whether it’s been an overarching mission this year, the results have followed the uptick in usage. 

Cole, who is scheduled to start the second game of the series on Tuesday, has been the best pitcher across MLB so far, owning a 5-0 record with a 1.11 ERA. 

Gerrit Cole is using his four-seam fastball more often this season, and the results are very good.
Robert Sabo for NY Post

He’s carried an otherwise struggling Yankees side, as the team has won all six games that Cole has started this season.

Cole’s 2.3 WAR leads all of MLB, and he’s quickly put himself on track to win the first Cy Young award of his career after twice finishing as a runner-up. 

Cole’s fastball has played a central role, as the pitch’s -10 run value this season was the best in MLB entering play Monday, per Baseball Savant, making it the most dominant pitch in baseball. 

Beyond the increased usage, Cole has thrown his fastball a whole 1 mph slower this year compared to last year — 96.8, which is down from his 97.8 mark last year. It’s helped with his control of the pitch. 

“It’s one of the best pitches in baseball, for sure,” catcher Jose Trevino, who has been behind the plate for each of Cole’s starts this year, told The Post. “We’re going to use it. … He looks good. He’s throwing the ball well. I think obviously there’s always gonna be things he wants to do better, and that’s what’s good about him.” 

Perhaps most importantly, Cole has done a 180 in the home run department.

After leading MLB last year with 33 home runs allowed, he has yet to surrender one this season. 

Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) is pulled from the game by New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone
The Yankees have won all six of Cole’s starts in 2023.
Robert Sabo for NY Post

The biggest difference? It’s nothing ground-breaking. 

“Just getting ahead,” Cole said. “Dictating the count. First-pitch strikes, same old cliches. Those cliches stick around because they work. … Certainly the results would dictate that [it’s the best he’s ever pitched]. I haven’t thought about it like that. I kind of just think of it as a good month and nothing more and nothing less.”

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