The Top 5 Best Rookie Cards of Cy Young Winner Gerrit Cole
Gerrit Cole has done a lot since making his big league debut in 2011, including a number of top 5 Cy Young award finishes. But he had not captured the award despite the near misses.
All that has changed, with Gerrit Cole unanimously winning the 2023 American League Cy Young award.
But who is Gerrit Cole? And what is the best Gerrit Cole rookie card and cards from his early career? And are they worth chasing?
Who is Gerrit Cole?
Gerrit Cole started his pro career by being taken with the #1 overall pick in the 2011 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He moved quickly through the minors and made his major league debut in 2013 with a strong season. Cole went 10-7 with a 3.22 ERA that year.
After a solid sophomore season, Cole stepped it up a notch in 2015 at age 24, going 19-8 with a 2.60 ERA and finishing 4th in the Cy Young voting.
After 5 mostly strong seasons in Pittsburgh, Cole spent two very good seasons in Houston (35-10, 2.68 ERA over the 2 seasons) before signing a record contract with the New York Yankees heading into 2020, Cole continued his strong showing.
In total, Cole finished 2nd in the Cy Young voting twice, 4th twice, and 5th once during his career heading into 2023. He’s led the league in a number of categories over the years, including wins, ERA, and strikeouts.
Gerrit Cole put up a great season in 2023, going 15-4 with a 2.63 ERA while leading the league in ERA, games started, innings pitched, winning percentage, ERA+, WHIP, and H/9. He is the favorite to win his first Cy Young award.
Overall, Cole has put up a career line of 145-75 record with a 3.17 ERA. In exactly 300 career games, all starts, he has racked up 2,152 strikeouts in 1,859 career innings. Cole has been worth 41.2 WAR in his career.
Gerrit Cole, Future Hall of Famer?
At first glance, Cole’s 41.2 career WAR doesn’t scream “Hall of Famer”. After all, his career WAR ranks 160th among starting pitchers of all time. But there are a number of considerations here. For one, Cole is only 33, so likely has a few more productive seasons in him. 2023’s 7.4 total was the highest single-season WAR of his career.
In addition, the very role of a starting pitcher is changing and evolving over time. At the end of 2023, there were four active pitchers who are sure-thing future Hall of Famers. Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, and Zack Grienke are likely the last of their eras.
If you look at starting pitchers whose careers have started since 2010, only oft-injured Chris Sale (47.2) and Jacob DeGrom (44.8) have WAR totals that exceed Cole’s. If there is a Hall of Fame starting pitcher who made their debut between 2010 and 2015, it’s probably Cole.
A strong completion to this career (he’s signed through 2028) and a dearth of other starting pitchers who approach anything close to the Hall of Fame standard could line Cole up for eventual election to the Hall of Fame. If he ends up in Cooperstown, it should give his card values a boost.
The Top 5 Gerrit Cole rookie cards and prospect cards
Gerrit Cole has appeared on over 7,400 cards to date, with more to be released before the end of 2023. Of those, a good number were released during or before his rookie year.
Picking out a Top 5 Gerrit Cole rookie card list is always going to be subjective and incomplete. That being said, these are five of our favorite non-parallel early career Cole cards. Your list may vary. If so, let us know your favorites at card_lines on Twitter.
5. 2013 Bowman Chrome Gerrit Cole #30
Cole’s Bowman Chrome rookie card has been graded by PSA just over 150 total times. Of the graded copies, the majority are in PSA 10 slabs. That keeps prices shockingly affordable, with PSA 10s selling for $25-35.
4. 2012 Bowman Prospects Gerrit Cole #BP86
The most populous card on our list in terms of total PSA population the paper 1st Bowman prospects card is very affordable, with a PSA 10 selling for only about $25 to $45. While these have a higher PSA population than the other cards on this list, the total population is far from high, sitting under 430 total graded copies.
3. 2012 Bowman Chrome Prospects Gerrit Cole #BCP86
The premium Chrome version of Cole’s 1st Bowman card has been graded close to 500 times by PSA, but there are only 34 PSA 10s. Even in a PSA 9, there are under 200 graded copies available.
There are no recent comps for a PSA 10, but in a PSA 9 recent sales have been for around $40 to $45. That feels quite reasonable for the 1st Bowman Chrome card of one of the top pitchers in the game.
2. 2013 Topps Chrome Gerrit Cole #210
With a PSA count approaching 250, but only 55 PSA 10s, the 2013 Topps Chrome offers a relatively low PSA pop with far fewer PSA 10s on a percentage basis than the other cards on the list.
These help combine to make the Topps Chrome Cole’s most valuable base rookie card. Recent sales of a PSA 10 copy have been in the $75-100 range.
In addition to the standard (pitching) version, there is a tougher-to-find image variation (walking) that can be worth chasing. PSA has only graded 8 copies.
An autographed version is also available in the form of the 2013 Topps Chrome Rookie Autograph #GC. There aren’t any recent comp sales, but at the time of this writing, a PSA 9/Auto 10 version is listed on eBay for $275.
1. 2012 Bowman Chrome Prospect Autographs Gerrit Cole #BCP86
PSA has graded only 33 copies of the autograph version of Cole’s Bowman 1st Chrome card. Of those, there are 24 in PSA 9 slabs, and only 4 in PSA 10 slabs. In a PSA 9, the last sale was for around $110. Between the low PSA population and the small percentage of PSA 10s, this feels like a particularly compelling Cole card to keep an eye out for.
Top Early Career Cards of Gerrit Cole
|Card||Total PSA Pop||Recent Sale Pop||Recent Sale Price|
|2013 Bowman Chrome Gerrit Cole #30||158||PSA 10 = 111||PSA 10 = $25-35|
|2012 Bowman Prospects Gerrit Cole #BP86||429||PSA 10 = 252||PSA 10 = $25-45|
|2012 Bowman Chrome Prospects Gerrit Cole #BCP86||394||PSA 9 = 165||PSA 9 = $40-45|
|2013 Topps Chrome Gerrit Cole #210||246||PSA 10 = 55||PSA 10 = $75-100|
|2012 Bowman Chrome Prospect Autographs Gerrit Cole #BCP86||33||PSA 9 = 24||PSA 9 = $110|
Other early Gerrit Cole prospect cards
Despite being drafted in June of 2011, Cole made his first card appearance well before that. In fact, his first cardboard appearance was back in 2007. While still in high school, he appeared in the 2007 Bowman AFLAC All-American Classic set.
By 2009, while in college, Cole played for Team USA, and appeared on over 30 different cards in the 2009 Upper Deck Signature Stars offerings.
2010 saw 65 more Team USA cards across the 2010 Bowman Chrome USA Baseball, 2010 Bowman Platinum Prospects, 2010 Bowman Sterling USA Baseball, and 2010 Topps USA Baseball.
In 2011, unlicensed products like 2011 Donruss Elite Extra Edition, 2011 Leaf Draft, 2011 Leaf Metal Draft, 2011 Leaf Valiant, 2011 Panini Limited, and 2011 Playoff Contenders got into the Cole game.
A wide variety of Gerrit Cole cards were produced from 2007 to 2011, a total of 165 according to the Trading Card Database (TCDB.com). While all of these are different, the general story here is typically low PSA population counts and very reasonable prices.
Gerrit Cole Rookie & Prospect card value
The story for most of the rookie, prospect, and other early career cards of Gerrit Cole are relatively low PSA populations and relatively low prices. Pitchers have always been less popular with collectors than hitters. Health is also always a consideration with pitchers.
That being said, Cole is one of the most talented pitchers of his era. If any pitcher who debuted between 2010 and 2015 eventually makes the Hall of Fame, there’s a good chance it’s Cole.
With that in mind and the fact that Cole plays for a very popular Yankees team, it feels like there’s some potential upside here. The good news is that with many Cole cards, the buy-in price is still pretty reasonable, so you can add some Cole cards to your collection on a budget and reap the rewards of any increases in the future.
Final thoughts on the best Gerrit Cole Rookie & Prospect Cards
Pitchers will break your heart. Collectors know this, so pitcher’s rookie cards tend to lag behind those of position players in value, with only a few notable exceptions. But Gerrit Cole has had an amazing start to his career, culminating in his best season yet in 2023.
If he can keep pitching at this elite level, Gerrit Cole has a chance to write his ticket to Cooperstown. His rookie and prospect cards are very reasonably priced right now, so there’s some potential upside there. There’s always risk with pitchers, but Cole could be a pitcher that collectors can get behind.
What’s your take on Gerrit Cole? Love his cards? Think he’s a future Hall of Famer? Tell us all about it at card_lines on Twitter.
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