Pirates make UCLA right-hander Gerrit Cole first pick in the draft

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As expected, the Pirates made UCLA right-hander Gerrit Cole the first overall selection in the 2011 draft.

Cole was selected 28th overall by the Yankees out of high school three years ago, but he opted to go to UCLA rather than sign. Armed with a high-90s fastball, he was widely regarded as the top upside pick in the draft. He doesn’t have great command and neither his slider nor changeup is an elite pitch at the moment, but with time, he could emerge as a true ace for the Pirates.

Cole isn’t as polished as UCLA teammate Trevor Bauer, who outpitched him by a wide margin this season. However, he is the best chance for the Pirates to hit a home run here. A modest disappointment as a junior, he went 6-8 with a 3.31 ERA and a 119/24 K/BB ratio for the Bruins. He struck out 376 in 322 1/3 innings in his three seasons overall.

Giants sign Austin Jackson to two-year, $6 million contract

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The Giants announced on Monday night the signing of outfielder Austin Jackson. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, it’s a two-year, $6 million deal with performance incentives that allow Jackson to earn up to an additional $2.5 million for a total of $8.5 million.

Jackson, who soon turns 31 years old, spent last season with the Indians. In 318 plate appearances, he hit .318/.387/.482 with seven home runs, 35 RBI, and 46 runs scored.

The Giants have been on the hunt for a center fielder and Jackson addresses that need relatively cheaply. Jackson will join Hunter Pence and newcomer Andrew McCutchen in the outfield.