Pittsburgh Pirates Sign First Overall Pick Gerrit Cole

Robert Knapel@@RobertKnapel_BRCorrespondent IAugust 16, 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

The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 MLB draft, Gerrit Cole, according to Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated.

This signing is a big one for the Pirates. The team is now adding another potential ace to their minor league system. Last year, the Pirates picked up Jameson Taillon with their top pick in the draft.

Cole will immediately become one of the top prospects in the Pirates system. In the future, the Pirates rotation could feature Cole, Taillon and fellow prospect Luis Heredia.

The former UCLA Bruin stands at 6'4", 225 lbs. He projects to be a durable starter that can be a power pitcher at the front end of the Pirates rotation. Cole has been able to routinely touch triple digits with his fastball and the pitch generally sits in the mid- to high-90s throughout his starts.

Cole also has a plus slider and his changeup—which can reach 90 mph—can also develop into a plus pitch very quickly.

It is unlikely that Cole will see any action in the Minor Leagues this season. The first real chance that fans should have to see Cole pitch might come in the Arizona Fall League. If he does not pitch there, Cole will make his debut in spring training.

Cole will not draw as much attention as the first-overall picks from the previous two years—Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg—have received, but he is still an outstanding player. Not having all of this hype surrounding him will likely be good for Cole’s development.

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