Pirates sending No. 1 pick Gerrit Cole to Arizona Fall League

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No. 1 overall pick Gerrit Cole didn’t sign with Pittsburgh until just before the August 16 deadline and won’t make his official minor-league debut until next season, but the Pirates announced that the right-hander from UCLA will pitch in the Arizona Fall League next month.

General manager Neal Huntington told Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review that the Pirates were pleased with Cole’s conditioning when he showed up to their instructional league and “always thought the best way for Gerrit to begin his development in our organization was to be challenged by the competition in Arizona.”

Typically the AFL features many more top-notch hitting prospects than pitching prospects because the environment is so hitter-friendly, so it’ll be interesting to see how the 21-year-old Cole fares after signing for $8 million.