Gerrit Cole is a finalist for the 2021 American League Cy Young Award.
One of Cole, Toronto’s Robbie Ray (the favorite) and Chicago’s Lance Lynn will walk away with his first Cy Young Award.
This is the second time Cole is a finalist – he finished in second place behind then-teammate Justin Verlander in Houston. Cole finished in fourth place last year and in 2015 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and finished in fifth place in 2018 with the Astros.
In the beginning of September, Cole was the heavy favorite, but a rough five-game stretch saw his ERA raise from 2.73 to 3.23 (he had a 6.23 ERA in that span).
That led to an outing of just 2+ innings in the Wild Card Game against the Red Sox where he allowed three runs on four hits, two of them home runs. Cole injured his hamstring on Sept. 14 against the Orioles, and simply wasn’t the same after that.
Cole also was the poster boy of the sticky stuff scandal, but plenty of his best starts of the season – and his career – came after the crackdown. He also led MLB in K/9 post-crackdown.
Nonetheless, Cole finished leading the AL in K/BB (5.93) and wins (16), and was third in ERA behind Ray and Houston’s Lance McCullers, second in WHIP behind Ray (1.06), and second in K/9 (12.1) behind Chicago’s Dylan Cease.
Cole is remembered more recently by Yankee fans as the guy who couldn’t get it done in the team’s biggest game of the season, but he was without a doubt one of the best pitchers in the AL throughout the entire season.