Bucs top pick to pitch in Arizona Fall League
PHOENIX — Right-hander Gerrit Cole will pitch in the Arizona Fall League, the Pirates announced Wednesday, marking the third consecutive year the top overall pick in the MLB draft will make his unofficial pro debut there.
"We always thought the best way for Gerrit to begin his development in our organization was to be challenged by the competition in Arizona," general manager Neal Huntington said. "We felt like he was ready to handle it. We felt it would be a good step for him, a good entry into professional baseball, and get him ready for 2012."
Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg, the top picks the past two years by the Washington Nationals, also went to the AFL after signing.
Cole will make an early departure from Instructional League in Florida to join the AFL, which begins play Oct. 4.
Huntington was pleased with Cole's physical condition when Cole reported in mid-August for workouts at Pirate City in Bradenton, Fla.
"He reported in good shape," Huntington said. "He was a great student for (pitching coordinator) Jim Benedict and our coaches down there in Florida. They felt the best way for him to develop was to challenge him (in Arizona)."
The AFL is a showcase for many of the game's top prospects. Having Cole play there should help the Pirates gauge which level of the minors to assign him to next season.
"He can show us where he is and what he's able to accomplish," Huntington said. "Not from a numbers standpoint but from the consistency of his mechanics and where he is stuff-wise. In such a small number of innings, the ERA is not indicative; it's the quality of delivery."
Facing top-level competition, Cole might not be as dominant as he was during his three seasons at UCLA. That's OK, Huntington said.
"We need to see him deal with some failure," Huntington said. "We hope he gets challenged out there. It will be a good thing for him. We'll see how he handles it, keeps his emotions in check and trusts his stuff."
Before the start of spring training, Cole will participate in the Pirates' intense development camp for top prospects. There's also a chance he could be a nonroster invitee to major league training camp.
"We typically try to bring guys who have a legitimate chance to be at the major league level," Huntington said. "Depending upon where our numbers are, we may stretch the boundaries a little bit."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates to end spring in Philadelphia again, sign Stinson to minor league deal
- Pirates face mound of decisions in offseason
- Pirates will implement price increase for 2015 tickets
- Bumgarner quiets Blackout crowd with 4-hit shutout
- Pirates face major decisions on a handful of players in offseason
- Pirates notebook: Team wary of Polanco, Marte playing full winter season
- Pirates bench coach Jeff Banister named Rangers manager