Any team with the No. 1 overall draft pick in any sport holds the key to the entire draft. More so this year in baseball because there is no clear-cut first pick. What the Pittsburgh Pirates—the holders of the No. 1 overall pick—decide to do is going to send a trickle-down effect throughout the draft.
Who the Pirates take with the first pick is still being decided according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The two players the Pirates are deciding between are UCLA RHP Gerrit Cole and Rice 3B Anthony Rendon. Both have their pluses and minuses, but neither is considered to be in the same class as previous first-round picks Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper.
The minus on Cole is that he is a pitcher. I wrote back when the Washington Nationals were prepared to take Strasburg with the No. 1 pick in the 2009 draft that the odds were against Strasburg. There’s a more-than-a-sample-size track record of pitchers taken in the top five of a draft who don't pan out.
The minus on Rendon is that he is injury prone and is a 45-year-old in a teenager’s body. The college junior has already had two ankle injuries and a shoulder injury that limited him earlier in the season.
If it was my pick, I would take Rendon. Position players are always the safer bet and the Pirates organization lacks top hitting prospects throughout their organization. An infield of Rendon at third, Pedro Alvarez at first and Neil Walker at second would look nice for the Pirates in 2013.
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