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Pittsburgh Pirates select right-handed pitcher Gerrit Cole first overall in 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft
06/06/2011 7:16 PM ET

The Pittsburgh Pirates today announced they have selected right-handed pitcher Gerrit Cole with the first overall selection in the annual First-Year Player Draft. The announcement was made by Greg Smith, Pirates Director of Scouting.

In 16 games as a junior with UCLA this season, the 20-year-old Cole went 6-8 with a 3.31 ERA (114.1ip/42er), four complete games, a shutout and 119 strikeouts.

During his three years at UCLA, Cole ranked second in school history in strikeouts (376), third in starts (49) and fifth in innings pitched (322.1). Cole also finished third on UCLA's single-season strikeouts list (153 in 2010) and sixth on the Pac-10's career strikeouts list (376). He also took two perfect games into the seventh inning this year; doing so on March 4 at Nebraska and then again a week later against Georgia.

Cole was rated by Baseball America as having the "Best Fastball" in the draft.

"Gerrit Cole has the size, strength, overall package of stuff and mentality to develop into a top-of-the-rotation Major League starting pitcher," said Smith. "He has the potential for three plus Major League pitches to complement his strong traits mentally, physically and personally."

The 6'4", 220-pound Cole was originally selected by the Yankees in the first round of the 2008 draft out of Orange Lutheran (CA) High School, where he was rated as the top high school prospect and the fourth-best high school player in the nation by Perfect Game Crosschecker and Baseball America as a senior. Last summer he played for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team for the second straight year, where he went 2-0 with a 0.72 ERA and one save in five games (four starts).

"We are thrilled with the continued outstanding productivity of our amateur scouting department under the leadership of Greg Smith," added Senior Vice President, General Manager Neal Huntington. "The selection of Gerrit Cole this evening is the result of excellent planning, preparation and execution. This selection is the first of many quality additions to our organization from this year's First-Year Player Draft."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.