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Gerrit Cole Goes To Pirates With First Overall Pick In 2011 MLB Draft

The Pirates have selected Gerrit Cole with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft. Cole is a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher from UCLA. He throws a blazing fastball (up to 100 MPH or so), a hard slider, and a changeup. He has taken some heat this year for not even outperforming his UCLA teammate Trevor Bauer (who also should be an early-first-round pick), but it's important not to put too much weight into college statistics as a means of evaluating draft picks. It's not that uncommon for a player to be drafted in the first round despite less-than-excellent stats and still do just fine.

Still, the reason Cole has struggled this year has to do with mechanical troubles that have caused him to throw fat pitches at times. It's important to note that all pitchers are risky, which is why drafting a pitcher early in the first round can be a very scary proposition. Not only is Cole a pitcher, but he's a pitcher who will probably require some coaching just to get his mechanics right.

I had wanted the Pirates to pick Anthony Rendon of Rice, who at least is a hitter. But if Rendon's shoulder isn't sound, then Cole does make some sense. I'm not thrilled about the Pirates' choice, but I do understand it. Once he signs, Pirates fans can begin debating on whether he or Jameson Taillon is the organization's best prospect. He'll add to an enviable collection of pitching talent in the Pirates organization that also includes Taillon, Luis Heredia, and Stetson Allie.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.