Dejan Kovacevic of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette hears that the Pirates will select UCLA right-hander Gerrit Cole with the first overall pick in Monday's amateur draft (subs. req'd). ESPN's Buster Olney says (on Twitter) that other teams anticipate the Mariners will select a position player with the second overall pick. Based on recent rumors, Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon would seem likely.
A few weeks ago we heard that Pittsburgh was considering a handful of players for that top pick, but they're going with Cole because he represents their best chance to land truly elite starting pitching, as Kovacevic notes. Tim Dierkes introduced us to Cole earlier this week, a hard-throwing righty that spurned the Yankees as the 28th overall pick out of high school in 2008. Ben Nicholson-Smith spoke to Cole back in March.
This is the fourth time the Pirates have held the first overall pick. They selected college shortstop Jeff King in 1986, and college righties Kris Benson and Bryan Bullington in 1996 and 2002, respectively.