Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that the Pirates’ decision to draft Gerrit Cole rather than Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon with the first overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft wasn’t the result of their perusal of Rendon’s medical records:
#Pirates GM Neal Huntington on Rendon: “There was nothing in Anthony’s [injury] records that changed our willingness to draft him or not.”
Rendon might have been the consensus top talent heading into the draft, but concerns about his injured shoulder hurt his stock, at least among us outsiders. Major-league teams had access to his injury information, and I had assumed that the reason five teams passed on Rendon before the Nationals finally picked him was that his medical reports contained ugly news about his shoulder.
Maybe that’s the case; maybe it isn’t. It could be that the Pirates are trying to avoid creating the impression that Cole would have been lower on their list than Rendon had Rendon not been injured. Then again, it’s also possible that the Pirates wanted Cole all along. In either case, this was a tricky thing for Huntington to say, because he’s opening himself up to a new round of second-guessing if Rendon turns out to be a better player than Cole.