MLB fans could probably argue who the best starting pitcher in baseball is right now, but there’s one thing that can’t be disputed: the richest one. After a historic 2019 season with the Houston Astros – although it didn’t earn him a first Cy Young Award – Gerrit Cole parlayed that into a record-setting $324 million free-agent deal with the New York Yankees this offseason.
Here are a few MLB Season Awards Odds available to wager at Mybookie on Cole’s 2020 MLB season – assuming there is one.
Gerrit Cole MLB Odds & Analysis For 2020 Season
- Most wins of any pitcher: Cole is +600 co-favorite
- AL Cy Young Award: Cole is +240 favorite
- AL MVP: Cole is +3000 longer shot
Can’t say I recommend Cole winning AL MVP honors because no pitcher has won MVP in the Junior Circuit since Justin Verlander in 2011 – Verlander was Cole’s teammate last year with Houston and edged out Cole for a second career Cy Young Award. Prior to Verlander, no pitcher in either league had won MVP since Oakland reliever Dennis Eckersley in 1992. The National League went even longer without an MVP award to a pitcher. After Bob Gibson won in 1968, no pitcher in that league was named MVP until Clayton Kershaw in 2014.
Cole, 29, was 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 326 strikeouts against 48 walks in 212 1/3 innings last season for the American League champion Astros. He was also 4-1 with a 1.72 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 36 2/3 postseason innings. He led the majors in strikeouts, ERA+ and strikeout rate, and the AL in ERA and FIP. Cole’s fastball averaged 97 mph last season, and he also throws a 89-mph slider with a 83-mph curveball, an 89-mph changeup and a 96-mph sinker.
The 326 strikeouts were the 14th-highest total in Baseball’s Modern Era (since 1900) and most by an AL pitcher since California’s Nolan Ryan (341) in 1977. Cole also set the MLB record with a 13.82 K/9.0IP ratio (326K/212.1IP), surpassing Arizona’s Randy Johnson (13.41) in 200 1. Including the postseason, Cole became the first pitcher ever to win 19 consecutive decisions in a single season (5/27-10/15/19).
Cole’s contract comes with an opt-out clause after five seasons, has full no-trade protection, and none of the money will be deferred. It sets the record for the biggest contract ever given a pitcher and it contains the highest average annual salary for a player at $36 million a year. Cole grew up a Yankees fan. His father was a Yankees fan. The Yankees drafted Cole in the first round in 2008, hoping (unsuccessfully) to lure him away from a UCLA commitment. Yankees GM Brian Cashman identified the 29-year-old as his “white whale” during a face-to-face meeting this winter.
The right-hander was up-and-down this spring before things were shut down. He didn’t allow a run in either of his first two Grapefruit League starts but in the third Cole served up two homers in the first and two homers in the second to surrender six runs while getting six outs against the Tigers. Cole has never allowed four homers in a regular-season start. In his spring finale, Cole yielded one run in 3 1/3 innings and struck out six versus the Blue Jays.
Cole, who recently announced a significant donation to COVID-19 relief in New York City, has been working out his arm with help from Yankees reliever Adam Ottavino, manager Aaron Boone and catcher Radley Haddad. Over the weekend, Ottavino posted a series of photos to Instagram of Cole throwing a bullpen session in what appeared to be one of the two’s backyard in Connecticut.
“Being able to stay in that routine has been beneficial. Trying to keep the pilot light on like other players and being as ready as we can be when we are called back to being able to play,” Cole said.
Obviously, he’s going to be a guy we love handing the ball to,” Boone said of Cole. “It’s really great having him, and I look forward to that, especially during the season. A guy you can obviously really count on.”
Gerrit Cole Expert Pick
Cole should be favored to win the Cy Young and we think he probably does – although not great betting value at that short price.