Yankees’ Gerrit Cole gives advice for Pirates star Paul Skenes

The Pittsburgh Pirates are calling up star prospect Paul Skenes to the big leagues, and there are plenty of parallels to New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole.

Both were hard-throwing righties who were selected with the No. 1 pick in their respective drafts. Both were selected by the Pirates coming out of LSU.

Cole said he’s rooting for Skenes to be the next big thing among pitchers in MLB, especially since the latter will enter the league immediately with arguably the best fastball in baseball.

“I’m just rooting for him to make it,” Cole said via The Post. “Some can just pick up a ball and throw it like that. I’d say it’s safe to say he has one of those kinds of arms and now we’re in an environment that allows you to max out sooner.”

The Yankees ace is currently working his way back from elbow nerve inflammation in his throwing arm. He just recently got back on the mound to throw some light bullpens and is targeting a return date in the middle of June.

Pitcher injuries have been a major topic of discussion across MLB since the offseason, and Cole had some advice for the Pirates’ handling of Skenes.

“We don’t know how good this guy is,” Cole said. “Nobody does. He could break the whole mold. He could be the greatest of all time. Why hold him back? Let him throw more, let him throw 98 [mph] instead of 102. If you limit him to 60 [pitches], he’s gonna go 103 [mph]. Let the horse run. Stretch him out. You’ve got a window now where you can develop him.”

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Teams have been far more cautious in recent seasons about letting pitchers throw deeper into games. The influx of hard-throwing bullpen arms have led to teams limiting starting pitchers to around 100 pitches.

Skenes is expected to make his much-anticipated debut this weekend, and Cole is likely going to be keeping an eye on the flame-throwing righty.

For more Yankees coverage, check out Kevin Hickey’s work on Sporting News.


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