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.