A. J. Cole

A. J. Cole
New York Yankees – No. 67
Born: (1992-01-05) January 5, 1992
Winter Springs, Florida
Bats: Right Throws: Right
MLB debut
April 28, 2015, for the Washington Nationals
MLB statistics
(through August 27, 2018)
Win–loss record 8–8
Earned run average 4.77
Strikeouts 147

Andrew Jordan "A.J." Cole (born January 5, 1992) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the Washington Nationals.

Amateur career

Cole attended Oviedo High School in Oviedo, Florida. He played for the school's baseball team,[1] and committed to attend the University of Miami on a college baseball scholarship.[2] Considered a potential first-round pick in the 2010 Major League Baseball draft, Cole fell in the draft due to his commitment to Miami and reportedly due to a high signing bonus demand.[3] The Washington Nationals selected Cole in the fourth round of the draft. He received a $2 million signing bonus to forgo his commitment to Miami,[2] a record bonus for a fourth-round pick.[4]

Professional career

Minor leagues

Cole pitched for the Vermont Lake Monsters of the Class A-Short Season New York–Penn League after he signed with the Nationals in 2010, and for the Hagerstown Suns of the Class A South Atlantic League in 2011. In those two seasons, Cole recorded 109 strikeouts in 90 innings pitched.[4]

On December 23, 2011, Cole was traded with Derek Norris, Tommy Milone, and Brad Peacock to the Oakland Athletics for Gio González and Robert Gilliam.[5] Assigned to the Stockton Ports of the Class A-Advanced California League to start the 2012 season, Cole struggled, pitching to a 0–7 win–loss record with a 7.82 earned run average, allowing a batting average against of .364 in eight games. The Athletics demoted him to the Burlington Bees of the Class A Midwest League, where he made 19 starts, pitching to a 2.07 ERA and recording 102 strikeouts compared to 19 walks in 95 23 innings.[6]

On January 16, 2013, Cole was traded back to Washington along with Blake Treinen and a player to be named later (later identified as Ian Krol) in a three-team trade that sent Michael Morse to the Seattle Mariners and John Jaso to Oakland.[7] Cole pitched for the Potomac Nationals of the Class A-Advanced Carolina League, and was named to appear in the 2013 All-Star Futures Game.[8] He was promoted to the Harrisburg Senators of the Class AA Eastern League during the season.[9] In 2014, Cole began the year with Harrisburg, and received a promotion to the Syracuse Chiefs of the Class AAA International League.[10][11] After the 2014 season, the Nationals added Cole to their 40-man roster.[12]

Washington Nationals


Cole opened the 2015 season as the Opening Day starting pitcher for Syracuse.[13] The Nationals promoted Cole to the major leagues to make a start in place of Max Scherzer on April 28.;[14] while Cole had a miserable outing, giving up nine runs in only two innings, he would get a no-decision after the Nationals, who had lost six straight, would come back to win the game 13-12,[15] starting a span where they won 20 of 25 games and jumped from last to first in the NL East.[16] Cole only appeared in two more games for the Nationals, both out of the bullpen, in 2015. He continued to make starts after being optioned back to Syracuse.[17] While he was called up after rosters expanded in September,[18] he did not pitch in another major league game before the end of the season.[19]


Cole spent the 2016 season again pitching in Syracuse's rotation. Working exclusively as a starter, he pitched to a 4.26 ERA (up by more than a full run from 2015) over 22 games, including two complete-game performances, before he was called up by the Nationals on August 18, 2016, to fill in as a reliever.[20] Due to the Nationals' acquisition of closer Mark Melancon in July, who wears the number #43 as a Washington player,[21] Cole exchanged his number #43 for #22 upon being called up.[22] Cole was placed in the Nationals' rotation later in the month after Stephen Strasburg went on the disabled list. He notched his first career win on September 2, 2016, against the New York Mets, giving up just one earned run on three hits and two walks over six innings on the road.[23] On September 26, Cole was ejected for the first time in his Major League career after throwing a pitch behind Jung-ho Kang. Thereafter, tempers flared with the benches clearing, but the Nationals nonetheless won 10-7 over the Pirates.[24]


Cole began the 2017 season with the Class AAA Syracuse Chiefs. The Nationals called him up on May 1[25] and he posted his first win of the year when the Nationals beat the Philadelphia Phillies on May 6,[26] but the team optioned him back to Syracuse on May 12.[27] The Nationals called him up again on June 18,[28] but he did not appear in any games before the Nationals optioned him back to Syracuse on June 22.[29] He was called up again on August 2 for a spot start against the Miami Marlins in a game the Marlins won 7–0 to clinch a series win;[30] he took two more losses – to the Marlins again on August 8[31] and to the San Francisco Giants in the first game of a doubleheader on August 13[32] – and returned to Syracuse on August 15.[33] The Nationals called him up for another spot start on August 25, this time against the New York Mets;[34] although he gave up only one run in six innings and had a personal-best eight strikeouts, the Mets won the game 4–2,[35] and he returned to Syracuse on August 27.[36] The Nationals recalled him on September 4 to start against the Marlins that day,[37] and he earned the win in a 7–2 Nationals victory.[38] He finished out the regular season with the Nationals, appearing both as a starter and a reliever. He took the loss in a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Nationals Park on September 16,[39] but on September 25 he started against the Phillies and outdueled Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola for the win, also notching his first career major-league hit when he singled up the middle off Nola.[40] On September 30, Cole came into a game in long relief against the Pittsburgh Pirates and pitched 323 no-hit innings, although the Nationals eventually lost despite his efforts.[41] Cole completed the season with a 3–5 record and a 3.81 ERA across 52 innings, starting eight games and appearing in relief in three others, giving up 22 earned runs on 51 hits, eight of them home runs, and with 44 strikeouts and 27 walks.[42]


Cole made the Nationals′ Opening Day roster for the first time in 2018, beginning the season as the Nationals' fifth starter. In his first start of the season, on April 3 against the Atlanta Braves, he hit the first major-league home run of his career, a 395-foot (120-meter) solo shot to left off Braves starter Julio Teherán that tied the game in the second inning, but he gave up 10 earned runs to the Braves – tying Jeremy Guthrie for the Montreal-Washington franchise record for earned runs given up in a game by a starter – on 10 hits, three walks, and four strikeouts in 323 innings[43][44] in a near-redux of his 2015 debut. Following an abbreviated – but much more effective – second start on April 11 in which he gave up two runs in 513 innings against the Braves,[45] he was reassigned to the bullpen to make room in the rotation for veteran Jeremy Hellickson. He was charged with one earned run each in two appearances out of the bullpen against the New York Mets, giving him a 13.06 ERA in 1013 innings of work in 2018, and although he got the win in his first appearance against the Mets, both of his outings against them saw him surrender a multi-run home run, including a grand slam on April 18.[46] The Nationals designated him for assignment on April 20, 2018, ending a three-and-a-half-year stint on the Nationals' 40-man roster.[47][48] During his overall Nationals career, he had made 19 starts and appeared in relief seven times, pitching to a 5.32 ERA in 110 innings of work.[48]

New York Yankees

The Nationals traded Cole to the New York Yankees for cash considerations on April 23.[49] Cole made his debut for the Yankees in relief in a game against the Los Angeles Angels on April 28. Cole's first half era was over 5, with his Yankees ERA under 1 and his Nationals ERA above 13.

Personal life

Cole married his wife, Christine Pulliam Cole, in 2015.[50]


  1. "Meet Oviedo High pitcher A.J. Cole". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  2. 1 2 Kuzydym, Stephanie (June 5, 2011). "Baseball prospects can face day-to-day grind once they are drafted: Former West Orange outfielder Mason Williams says baseball is 'a full-time job' once a player signs after the draft". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  3. "Ten Central Florida high school sports figures who stood out in 2010: Players such as Demetrius Hart, Chelsea Britt and Austin Rivers were among those who stood out". Orlando Sentinel. December 30, 2010. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  4. 1 2 Potomac Nationals (July 11, 2013). "Potomac Nationals Right-Handed Pitcher A.J. Cole Selected to 2013 Sirius/XM All-Star Futures Game | Potomac Nationals News". Milb.com. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
  5. "Nationals land left-hander Gio González, send four prospects to Athletics | nationals.com: News". Washington.nationals.mlb.com. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
  6. "Nationals Pastime: Breaking down why the Nats remain high on A.J. Cole". MASNsports. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  7. Kilgore, Adam (January 16, 2013). "Nationals trade Michael Morse for A.J. Cole in three-team deal". Washingtonpost.com. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
  8. Wagner, James (July 9, 2013). "A.J. Cole named to the Futures Game". Washingtonpost.com. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
  9. Raymond, Jonathan (January 2, 2013). "Cole finding his way in Double-A | MiLB.com News | The Official Site of Minor League Baseball". Milb.com. Retrieved December 2, 2013.
  10. "Washington Nationals shut down top Syracuse Chiefs pitching prospect A.J. Cole for season". syracuse.com. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  11. "Cole eyeing big league roster spot after strong '14". Major League Baseball. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  12. "Nationals add A.J. Cole, Brian Goodwin, Wilmer Difo, Matt Grace to 40-man roster". Washington Post. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  13. "Syracuse Chiefs pitcher A.J. Cole makes return as ace of the staff". syracuse.com. Retrieved April 10, 2015.
  14. "A.J. Cole will start instead of Max Scherzer on Tuesday". Washington Post. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  15. https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/ATL/ATL201504280.shtml
  16. https://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/WSN/2015-schedule-scores.shtml
  17. Reddington, Patrick (May 24, 2015). "Nationals option A.J. Cole to Triple-A, recall Taylor Jordan from Syracuse". Federal Baseball. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  18. Wagner, James (September 17, 2015). "Why the Nationals' called-up prospects aren't playing much". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  19. "A.J. Cole Game-by-Game Stats". ESPN. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  20. Hughes, Chase (August 18, 2016). "Nats call up Cole to help bullpen, send down Goodwin". CSN Mid-Atlantic. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  21. Castillo, Jorge (July 31, 2016). "Mark Melancon joins Nationals ready to close". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  22. "A.J. Cole #22". MLB.com. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
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  24. Berry, Adam. "Tempers flare in Pittsburgh after deke, near-HBP". MLB. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  25. Reddington, Patrick (May 2, 2017). "Washington Nationals option Joe Ross to Triple-A; recall A.J. Cole from Syracuse..." Federal Baseball. Retrieved May 2, 2017.
  26. Nationals vs. Phillies - Game Summary - May 6, 2017 - ESPN
  27. Janes, Chelsea (May 12, 2017). "Shawn Kelley, Koda Glover return to boost an embattled Nationals bullpen". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  28. Castillo, Jorge (June 18, 2017). "Nationals place Shawn Kelley on disabled list, recall A.J. Cole". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 18, 2017.
  29. Chelsea Janes [@chelsea_janes] (June 23, 2017). "Nats recall Wilmer Difo (so even out their short bench) to replace Cole on the roster. Now have 7 pitchers, five bench guys" (Tweet). Retrieved June 29, 2017 via Twitter.
  30. Weyrich, Matt (August 2, 2017). "A.J. Cole implodes, Enny Romero exits with injury, Brandon Kintzler debuts: Washington Nationals fall 7-0 to Miami Marlins". Federal Baseball. Retrieved August 5, 2017.
  31. Marlins vs. Nationals - Game Summary - August 8, 2017 - ESPN
  32. Giants vs. Nationals - Game Summary - August 13, 2017 - ESPN
  33. Weyrich, Matt (August 15, 2017). "Howie Kendrick homers twice, Gio Gonzalez shines as the Washington Nationals beat the Los Angeles Angels 3-1". Federal Baseball. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  34. "Nationals' A.J. Cole: Headed up to big club". CBS Sports. August 25, 2017. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
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  36. Janes, Chelsea (August 27, 2017). "Rafael Bautista joins Nationals, Adrian Sanchez okay after a night in the hospital". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 27, 2017.
  37. "With A.J. Cole returning to rotation, Nats send RHP Erick Fedde to DL". ESPN. September 4, 2017. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  38. Reddington, Patrick (September 4, 2017). "Washington Nationals' bats wake up, A.J. Cole solid in 7-2 win over Miami Marlins..." Federal Baseball. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  39. [Dodgers vs. Nationals - Game Summary September 16, 2017 - ESPN]
  40. Castillo, Jorge (September 25, 2017). "Still without Bryce Harper, Nationals give A.J. Cole enough support to top Phillies". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
  41. Castillo, Jorge (September 30, 2017). "In final tune-up, Nats' Max Scherzer lifted in fourth with hamstring cramp". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 1, 2017.
  42. Baseball Reference: 2017 Washington Nationals Statistics
  43. Janes, Chelsea (April 3, 2018). "The Nationals' perfect start to the season ends with A.J. Cole getting shelled by the Braves". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  44. Nationals vs. Braves - April 3, 2018 - Game Summary - ESPN
  45. Zuckerman, Mark (April 11, 2018). "Pressed into extra duty again, Nats bullpen can't finish the job". MASN Sports. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  46. Castillo, Jorge, "Nationals designate A. J. Cole for assignment, call up Carlos Torres," washingtonpost.com, April 20, 2018, 9:55 p.m. EDT.
  47. Zuckerman, Mark (April 20, 2018). "Cole designated for assignment, Torres added to bullpen". MASN Sports. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  48. 1 2 Castillon, Jorge (April 24, 2018). "Nationals trade pitcher A.J. Cole to Yankees for cash considerations". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  49. https://www.mlb.com/yankees/news/yankees-acquire-pitcher-aj-cole-from-nationals/c-273591842
  50. https://www.facebook.com/christine.pulliam.18
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