John Sickels of SB Nation's Minor League Ball blog praises the Pirates' 2011 MLB Draft, which featured what he calls a "great one-two-three punch" with first three picks Gerrit Cole, Josh Bell and Alex Dickerson.â†µ
Extremely high long-term upside draft, but also extremely expensive to sign everyone. Bell may be a total waste of a draft pick if he is as strongly committed to Texas as he says he is, but I think it is worth a gamble. Anything could happen with the big group of projectable arms, but it fits their strategy of recent drafts. Dickerson is an advanced bat and a bargain in the third round. Gerrit Cole is outstanding obviously.â†µ
Sickels also calls Bell "a switch-hitting Jason Heyward," which is high praise indeed. The success of the Pirates' draft will probably turn on whether or not they can sign Bell, but they also got the first overall pick in Gerrit Cole, a "great value" in Dickerson, and a ton of high-upside later-round picks, such as 15th-rounder Kody Watts and 17th-rounder Aaron Brown. It will be interesting to see how many of these players the Pirates end up signing.