The Pirates signed their first and round pick of the 2011 MLB draft when Gerrit Cole and Josh Bell signed on the dotted line for what is going to be considered one of the top draft classes in all of baseball. The combined bonus' for the two is around $13M which includes $8M for Cole and $5M for Bell.
The first tweet of the night that was of relevance was this:
The Pirates add another really solid arm to their system. Cole just completed his junior year at UCLA and finished with a 6-8 record and a 3.31 ERA in 114.1 innings pitched. In his college career he appeared in 50 games, starting in 49 of them, while recording a 21-20 record and a 3.38 ERA. In 322.1 innings pitched he has a K/BB ratio of 376/114 and held hitters to a .215 average.
As numerous people have stated this kid is pretty MLB ready with possibly three plus pitches. You have already heard about his fastball that can reach 100 or more and a hard slider that is around the 88-90. The most lethal pitch that Cole might have is his change up which is being described as a plus pitch. When I call it a change up I am not talking about some 78 mph pitch, he is throwing this hard and from the same arm slot and motion which makes that a deadly pitch. I will take that kind of stuff every day of the week.
Cole's deal is said to be a minor league deal, which is a shock because most thought he was going to get a major league deal. Getting the minor league deal means more money up front for Cole but it also means more control for the Pirates.
Video's of Cole:
The Cole signing was something that was almost guaranteed to happen since he had really nothing to gain, but the next tweet wasn't so sure.
Boom. When the Pirates drafted Bell it was seen as a stretch as Bell sent out a letter to every Major League team saying that he was going to honor his commitment to Texas and that a team shouldn't draft him. Well, the Pirates took the chance with the 61st overall selection and most said that there was maybe a 10% chance of signing him. They were wrong.
Although Bell went in the second round and was the 61st player taken off the board most had him as the best HS bat in the draft and ranked him around 15th of all prospects. He is a switch hitter that can hit with power from both sides of the plate.
In 81 at bats in his senior season Bell hit for a .552/.687/1.073 line with eight doubles, 14 home runs, 19 stolen bases, 48 walks and only five strikeouts. Granted those are high school numbers but those are some pretty big numbers.
The Pirates don't have a ton of power hitters in the organization and Bell is immediately one of those players right away. He is a high school player and will have some more developing to do than a college hitter but you can't help but love having him in the system. If the Pirates didn't sign Bell they would have had a good draft, but being able to sign Bell will make many people call this one of the best in the league.
Josh Bell Video:
All told the Pirates signed every top-10 pick in the draft class and that is huge. As of right now (reported numbers) the Pirates are spending over $17M in the draft which destroys their previous high. Both Bell and Cole were Boras clients and I remember a time when people said that the organization didn't like to deal with Boras. That doesn't seem to be the case.
Great night to be a Pirates fan. Great times.