The Yankees bought Cole from the Nationals last April, acquiring him in exchange for cash after Washington had designated the one-time top prospect for assignment themselves. Cole gave the Yankees 38 innings of 4.26 ERA ball from that point forth, pitching in primarily a multi-inning relief role. Along the way, Cole offered some signs of encouragement, as he averaged 11.6 K/9 and registered an enormous 15.9 percent swinging-strike rate with a very good 34.3 percent opponents’ chase rate on out-of-zone pitches.
However, Cole was also exorbitantly homer-prone, yielding nine long balls for an average of 2.13 homers per nine innings pitched. That’s been an ongoing problem for the 26-year-old in each of the past three MLB seasons, as he’s averaged a staggering 1.9 homers per nine innings in that time. In 148 innings at the big league level, Cole has a 5.05 ERA with 9.2 K/9 against 3.9 BB/9.