The Pirates had the dubious honor of picking number one in tonight's first round of the MLB Draft. Rather than go with the stud 3B that fans have been clamoring for over the past year, the Pirates went with UCLA RHP Gerrit Cole.
Here's some info I dug up on Cole:
- His wiki profile
- Baseball America rated him at 3rd overall, 2nd pitcher and 1st college pitcher
- Keith Law rates him #1 Overall
- The Post-Gazette's Dejan Kovacevic profiled him last month
There is going to be a lot of second guessing this pick, as Rendon had previously been compared to MLB stars Evan Longoria and Ryan Zimmerman and had been seen as a lock at #1 after last year's draft. I already heard 93.7 host Andrew Fillipponi (who sucks, by the way) giving some nonsensical instant negative reaction to the pick. But, I think it's pretty hard to be overly critical of the pick when you consider the following:
- This wasn't a pick based on cost, as the Pirates are proven big spenders in the draft and Cole isn't going to come cheap
- Rendon fell all the way to #6, so there may be more serious concerns regarding the shoulder injury that caused his numbers to fall this year
- If the Pirates are going to be legit contenders, they are going to need a frontline pitching staff, which is nearly prohibitively expensive on the free agent market for them, so they need to stockpile arms in the draft. Cole, by most accounts, was the premiere arm in the draft, at least among college pitchers.
I'm a firm believer that you should want to see management taking the guy they believe in most, not necessarily who the fans want or what the magazines might say. Almost no one locally who I've already heard criticizing the pick has actually seen any of these guys play, nor know anything about scouting, which makes them as knowledgeable on the subject as myself. I get that the position player theoretically is the more likely to succeed and I'll admit that I personally was hoping to see the pick be Rendon. But, I'm not a scout and I'm pretty happy to see the Pirates ignore the hype and get the guy they want. That's what the Steelers would do.
Update: Wow! The Pirates just took Josh Bell as the first pick of the second round. He's a HS OF who is rated as the 5th best offensive prospect in this year's draft by Baseball America. The story on him though is that he absolutely wants to go to college, so won't sign a contract. The Pirates taking him here suggests they are going to try to blow him away with a big contract offer. It's not quite the same thing as winning lots of games, but the Pirates continue to show they're serious about acquiring young talent.