MLB Draft 2011: Will Gerrit Cole or Anthony Rendon Be the No. 1 Pick?

Adam BernacchioAnalyst IIIMay 7, 2011

OMAHA, NE - JUNE 28:  Starting pitcher Gerrit Cole #12 of the UCLA Bruins pitches against the South Carolina Gamecocks during game 1 of the men's 2010 NCAA College Baseball World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium on June 28, 2010 in Omaha, Nebraska.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

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.