- - Monday, June 6, 2011

SECAUCUS, N.J.  The Pittsburgh Pirates took hard-throwing UCLA righty Gerrit Cole with the No. 1 pick in the baseball draft Monday night.

Cole, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound junior, posted mediocre numbers this season for the Bruins (6-8, 3.31 ERA) but has what many consider to be the best pure stuff in the draft.

He was a first-round pick of the New York Yankees in 2008 but refused to listen to an offer and instead attended UCLA - as he insisted to teams he would.

The Pirates, picking No. 1 for the fourth time in franchise history and first since 2002, are hoping Cole ends up being the ace of their pitching staff. He has a fastball that’s consistently clocked around 95 mph and was up around 100 at points late this season. Cole’s changeup and slider also are outstanding.


Gerrit Cole has the size, strength, overall package of stuff and mentality to develop into a top-of-the-rotation major league starting pitcher,” said Greg Smith, the Pirates‘ director of scouting.

While the Pirates made the expected move in tabbing Cole, the Mariners defied most pre-draft expectations by picking Virginia left-hander Danny Hultzen second overall. Many had expected offense-needy Seattle to tab Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon at No. 2, but Seattle went with the Bethesda native instead.

Arizona immediately jumped on Cole’s UCLA rotation-mate, Trevor Bauer, with the third overall pick. The right-hander went 13-2 with a 1.27 ERA this season and led the nation with 203 strikeouts.

Baltimore took Oklahoma high school pitcher Dylan Bundy at No. 4 overall and the Royals followed with a high school pick of their own, staying close to home to take outfielder Bubba Starling out of Kansas.

Those picks left the top-rated college position player, Rendon, to Washington at No. 6.