There are always certain types of guys that fan bases just love falling in love with.
The classic overachiever, the home grown star or maybe it’s just someone oozing confidence and swagger.
It’s pretty obvious to point out the type.
Last year, the Yankee fan base fell in love with Nestor Cortez.
Cortes came out of nowhere. He pitched with the Yankees in 2019, left the team in 2020 and returned in 2021.
Cortes profiled as your classic lefty journeymen pitcher and I’m sure his return to the team wasn’t exactly celebrated.
However, midway through the 2021 season, the Yankees needed someone to step up in their rotation.
Nestor Cortes took on that role.
He went from being the really good long reliever to a pitcher Aaron Boone could rely on more and more starting out games.
The Yankees would not have made the postseason last year without his contribution to the rotation.
Cortes won over fans with his strong performance, but it was more than that.
Nestor Cortes has a flair and a presence on the mound. The way he changes speeds, the funky leg kick and then you throw in the mustache!
How can you not love Nestor Cortes???
Heading into the 2022 season, I wondered if Cortes could do it again?
After all, I remember Aaron Small and Shaun Chacon. Small and Chacon were instrumental in the Yankees division title in 2005 and were both cut mid way through 2006.
A month plus into 2022, Cortes has made it clear. 2021 was no fluke.
Cortes is the first pitcher in Yankee history with at least 40 strikeouts and 6 runs or fewer allowed in his first 6 games of the season.
On Monday, Cortes took a no hitter into the 8th inning against the Texas Rangers and was sensational.
Believe it or not, I received a text from a Yankee fan telling me he’d prefer Cortes start the Yankees playoff game over ace Gerrit Cole!
I’m not willing to go that far, but I am willing to say. Nestor Cortes is for real.
The stash, the leg kick, the swagger.
I’m sold. Nasty Nestor is no fluke.
You can listen to my podcast New York every Sunday & Thursday on the Ringer Podcast Network, You can also check us out live Tuesday nights after Yankee & Met games on Spotify Live with your calls. Plus nightly on Geico Sportsnight on SNY.