#5 Gerrit Cole
Previous Rank: N/A
Cole was the first guy off the board in 2011, and it is pretty tough to make a strong case against that pick (except for the $8 million price tag). We did not view him as the top guy available, but no one could blame Pittsburgh for viewing him as just that either.
Cole has reached well beyond the 100 mph plateau, and his changeup was the best changeup of any draft class in recent memory. He also features a knockout slider that routinely gets 60 grades. He has a terrific arsenal of pitches and has average or better command as well. His mechanics are hit and miss, though, which is why we liked several guys a little more than Cole going into the draft. With someone of his caliber, it’s really just nitpicking. Gerrit Cole has a chance to be the best pitcher in baseball and immediately ascended to the top of the Pirates’ rankings ahead of noteworthy players like Jameson Taillon and Starling Marte.
Cole looked a little sloppy in the AFL, but he still was able to make five starts and record 15 innings of professional baseball. Let me just take this time to mention how terrific we at The Sombrero think the AFL is, especially for those guys like Cole and Hultzen who signed late and are looking to snag their first few starts of professional baseball before winter shut-downs. Anyway, Gerrit Cole is absolutely a stallion and he should debut early in 2013.