It’s significant that Kovacevic is writing this, because he’s a lot more likely than any of the draft experts to have a good reason for believing that Cole, and not Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon, is the guy - Kovacevic has a ton of sources around the Pirates organization, and he doesn't tend to pass off speculation as real reporting.
It’s possible that the Pirates have reports on Rendon’s shoulder and they simply think he’s too big an injury risk. That’s a totally legitimate reason not to pick him, obviously, and if that’s the case, there’s little I can say about this.
Still, though, this nags at me. I’ve made my preference for Rendon over Cole perfectly clear in probably about two dozen posts here and at Bucs Dugout, and it disappoints me that it now appears unlikely that the Pirates will get Rendon. It will upset me if the Pirates pass on Rendon due to his shoulder, and then the Mariners end up taking him with the No. 2 overall pick.
Oh well. Still, Cole is a heck of a consolation prize – he has struggled at times this year, and his mechanics will probably need to be tweaked a bit, but his stuff suggests he can be an ace in the future, and the Pirates are going to have a heck of a core of young pitching, with Cole added to top prospects Jameson Taillon, Luis Heredia and Stetson Allie.