Will Yankees' Pressure Impact Gerrit Cole's Fantasy Numbers?

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The Yankees signed starting pitched Gerrit Cole to a nine year, $324 million contract back in December. Cole’s contract shattered the previous record for a pitcher’s contract which was signed by Stephen Strasburg for $245 million.Now that Cole is a member of the Yankees, fantasy baseball players are drafting him as the top overall starting pitcher. But is that a smart pick? Sports Illustrated’s fantasy analyst Jaime Eisner and Yankees reporter Max Goodman weigh in on what to expect Cole now that he’s wearing pinstripes in New York.

Read the Full Transcript from their interview:

Bill Enright: Gerrit Cole signed a record deal for pitcher contracts with the New York Yankees this offseason, but is he worthy of being starting pitcher number one? For that, I go to Jimmy Isar, a fantasy analyst here at Sports Illustrated, and also Max Goodman from Inside the Pinstripes. Max, I'll start with you. What are the Yankees expecting from their ace this year?

Max Goodman: Well, there's a lot of pressure on Gerrit Cole this year, like you said, the record contract. I got a chance to get a look at Cole in person at spring training down in Tampa. The way that he goes about his craft and just how meticulous he is with being not only the number one on a staff, but also a great teammate to the rest of the starting pitchers. I would without hesitation, I would pick him to be my number one starting pitcher in fantasy. And even considering the implications of this season and potentially it being a Shorten campaign, you might not get as much value out of a starting pitcher, but he's currently on. If you don't count the postseason last year, he's currently on a 16-0 record in his last 22 starts. He hasn't lost since May 22nd. And in that span, he has an era under one point eight. He's one of the best pitchers on the planet, maybe the best in Major League Baseball. I think you've got a draft high on Cole.

yankees-gerrit-cole

Bill Enright: Jaime, and whenever you label somebody, as, you know, position X, number one, there's a high expectation from fantasy sports players that really have these pie in the sky kind of predictions for whoever they're drafting can call live up to those expectations.

Jaime Eisner: I think he can for the most part. Look, he's not going to replicate the exact numbers he had in Houston last year, but I do think he can be a guy that hangs right around that 3.00 anyway, a mark in New York around a whip of one. We'll see how many games that they actually have. The starters play like there's been talks about actually going to a true six man rotation now in Major League Baseball that always gets talked about this year might be different because of the circumstances. I believe ESPN's are going to be a little less valuable than we have seen them normally because of the shortened season and because of some of the potential maybe double headers that happened on the weekend. But he still should be the first starting pitcher off the board and he's still a first round pick in fantasy drafts.

GERRIT COLE

Bill Enright: All right, Jaime and Max, great analysis. Thank you guys for that knowledge drop. We appreciate it. Plenty more fantasy baseball coverage from Sports Illustrated. Check it out. S.I.D. Dot com slash fantasy.

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