Gerrit Cole Not An Automatic Top Overall MLB Draft Pick, But A Logical One Given The Circumstances

John Sickels of SB Nation’s new Baseball Nation hub opines on the Pirates’ selection of UCLA pitcher Gerrit Cole with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft:

Cole had an erratic season for the Bruins, going 6-8, 3.31 with a 119/24 K/BB in 114 innings.

But scouts remain entranced with him, focusing on his 95-99 MPH fastball, power slider, and excellent changeup.Despite his inconsistency this spring, his K/BB ratio was outstanding and reflects the excellent gains he made with his command and control in college. Although he showed a volatile personality in high school, he has emerged as a very positive makeup player and scouts have no doubts about his intangibles at this point. He’s also smoothed out his delivery, enhancing his command.

Cole projects as a definite number-one starter in the majors.

I’m not sure what “definite number-one starter” means when applied to a draft pick, but Cole’s upside certainly is that of an ace. At this point, it’s hard to argue too much about the Pirates’ pick. You could say they should have grabbed Anthony Rendon instead, but the fact that five teams passed on Rendon indicates that Rendon’s shoulder isn’t right. You could say that Trevor Bauer (who was selected at No. 3 overall) had better stats, but as Sickels suggests, scouts love Cole, and for an MLB draft pick, it’s not about stats. It’s about talent.

It’s a shame that there wasn’t a lock top draft pick available to the Pirates, but Cole is a very nice consolation prize.

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