As the MLB season started for our Buccos, there were many fan posts gearing up for the June Draft as the Pirates brass has the dubious honor of the top pick this year. Although there is no clear cut favorite coming out this year as the last two seasons, it has been an obvious pick, both by the Washington Nationals with Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper.
Well Neil Huntington has that task in two months and posts have been written on the sides of both Anthony Rendon and Gerrit Cole. Both players are having good 2011 campaigns, but neither is taking that step to be the clear cut favorite this spring.
So far the 3rd base blue chip prospect, Anthony Rendon has hit .349 in 40 games with 3 dingers and 21 ribbies. In 129 plate appearances has 21 strikeouts while drawing 57 walks and also has 10 steals. Not great, but good numbers. Remember he hit 26 homers last season.
Gerrit Cole meanwhile is 4-3 in 9 starts, with a 2.22 ERA, with 75 k's in 65 IP while allowing only 11 walks and opposing hitters are raking .188 against him. He has beaned 7 hitters so far this spring.
So there have been numerous comparisons of the two, but is Cole even the best pitcher on his squad this season? Trevor Bauer is also on the Bruins staff putting up bigger numbers than Cole. Also in 9 starts, Bauer is 7-1, with a 1.47 ERA and 110 K's in 73.2 IP, while allowing 23 batters to get on base via base on balls. College hitters are struggling more versus Bauer as his batting average against is a meager .148.
Is it the new bats for Mr. Rendon this year? Injuries? Nobody hitting behind him at Rice? Well the NCAA leader in homers has 18 and the leader in RBI's is 62. Both way above what Anthony is putting up with the Owls. So it might not be the bats as other collegiate players are raking this season.
Other possible candidates to throw into the mix as their names have surfaced are Taylor Jungmann of Texas and Danny Hultzen of Virginia. Jungmann is 8-0 in 9 starts with 2 shutouts, a 1.11 ERA in 72.2 IP, 63 K's, 9 walks and opponents are hitting .173 against him. Hultzen is also 8-0 with a 1.17 ERA in 61.1 IP, 99 K's and 10 bases on balls, while opponents are hitting .178 against the southpaw.
If I were NH, I would always go the pitching route as you never know who is going to hit. Even with the previous selections of Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie and the signing of Luis Heredia last year, you never have enough pitching. If the Bucs can draft a top tier prospect who can be a #1 starter in the league soon, then I take him. Not a #3 rotation possibility as David Littlefied announced on the day he drafted Paul Maholm. He at least was right on that prediction.
Rendon is good and can hit as he showed last season. But with the injuries and not so great stats so far this spring, it might be that they go pitching again. I posted before that I would take Cole, but Bauer is having a better season on the mound than his counterpart and there are a few other possible suitors to add to the mix. In the long run Cole is the answer.