Via MLB.com, a report cites a “baseball source” saying that the Pittsburgh Pirates will select UCLA right-hander Gerrit Cole with the No. 1 selection in the 2011 MLB draft, set to begin at 7 p.m. ET Monday evening.
Cole, a 6-4, 225-pound righthander, is a power pitcher who can throw 95-96 MPH. Despite that, he’s had a rather pedestrian 6-8 record for the Bruins this season with a 3.31 ERA. Why the unimpressive numbers?
Scouts think there are two reasons for the less-stellar results. One was a mechanical flaw in his delivery, in which he was opening up his front side too soon. His release point was right down the middle, meaning his stuff was getting too much of home plate, especially when he tried to come inside to a right-handed hitter. His slider often flattened out, as well. Control wasn’t a problem — he doesn’t walk many — but command within the strike zone was.
Pirates fans might be excited by this choice, since mechanics can be corrected, but this article indicates that they might be a little afraid, too:
… it goes without saying that Pirates fans are a little more gun shy than most. The last time they had the draft’s top pick — 2002 — they selected Bryan Bullington, another big college righthander. Bullington didn’t get his first major league win until last season (while pitching for the Kansas City Royals) and now plays in Japan. If it wasn’t for San Diego and Matt Bush in 2004, he’d be the most notable No. 1 draft bust in the 2000s.
We’ll await further word and the official selection of Cole (if that’s who it is) by the Pirates this evening.