UCLA right-hander Gerrit Cole will be the Pirates’ choice with the No. 1 pick when the draft starts tonight, according to MLB.com prospect and draft analyst Jonathan Mayo.
Cole’s performance this season is considered somewhat disapppointing, with rotation-mate Trevor Bauer posting superior numbers, but Cole has long been projected as the potential No. 1 pick and ESPN.com’s Keith Law ranks him as the top prospect in the draft.
Baseball America ranks Cole third behind Rice infielder Anthony Rendon and high school right-hander Dylan Bundy.
According to Mayo the Pirates narrowed their consideration down to Cole, Rendon, and Virginia left-hander Danny Hultzen, eventually settling on the hard-throwing, 6-foot-4 righty with mid-90s velocity and a 119/24 K/BB ratio in 114 innings.
Check back tonight for HardballTalk’s analysis of the first round as it unfolds.
While newly-acquired talent Danny Espinosa was off collecting hits for the Blue Jays against the Orioles, Marcus Stroman led a youth-filled roster against the Canadian Junior National Team in a split-squad game on Saturday. In the eighth inning, 17-year-old Canadian pitcher Braden Halladay took the mound to honor his late father’s memory against his former team.
Halladay accomplished just that, wielding a fastball that topped out in the low-80s and setting down a perfect 1-2-3 inning against the top of the lineup. No one batter saw more than a single pitch from the right-hander: Mc Gregory Contreras and Mattingly Romanin flew out to the outfield corners and Bo Bichette laid down a ground ball for an easy third out.
MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm has a fantastic profile of the high school junior, including his approach to the game and his attempt to do Roy Halladay proud while carving out his own path to the majors. “From a pitching standpoint, it was everything I could have asked for and more,” Halladay told reporters. “Especially now, every time I make mistakes, I still hear him drilling me about them in my head, just because he’s done it so many times before. From a mind-set standpoint, I don’t think with any bias that I could have had a better teacher.”