For all the many achievements that Gerrit Cole has accomplished during his 11-year career, there are a few milestones that he still wants to check off. Winning a World Series and Cy Young Award both remain top priorities on the list, but in the past week, he expressed a serious desire to start the All-Star Game for his league.
Cole will get his wish. American League manager Dusty Baker named Cole his All-Star starter for tomorrow night in Seattle, per Jon Heyman. Arizona’s Zac Gallen will start for the National League. There was a good case for the Rangers’ Nathan Eovaldi, but Cole is getting the nod. He will be the Yankees’ first pitcher to start an All-Star Game (12th overall) since Roger Clemens in 2001, which coincidentally was also the last Midsummer Classic in Seattle and the last time that a Yankee won the Cy Young Award. Cole has to be hoping that history will repeat itself in that department, too.
On the season, Cole has a 2.85 ERA, 3.43 FIP, and 1.120 WHIP in a tied-for-league-best 19 starts. He’s second in innings with 117 (two outs behind Eovaldi), his 123 strikeouts are tied for sixth, and by Baseball Reference, he paces the American League in WAR with 3.8 (0.5 up on Astros starter Framber Valdez).
Again, there was certainly a compelling argument for Eovaldi, but as far as legacy picks go, it feels appropriate for a pitcher as important to this generation as Cole to have an All-Star Game start — much like how it was strange that Dodgers icon Clayton Kershaw had never started one until 2022.
Congratulations to the Yankees’ ace. Although the underwhelming team might only have the one representative at the event with Aaron Judge giving it a skip, Cole has ensured that they’ll be front and center at the outset.