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.