Gerrit Cole had some time to prepare his reaction to becoming the first overall pick in the 2011 draft. Word filtered out early Monday that the Pirates would take Cole with the top choice, and the club called him about a half-hour before the start of the draft to notify him officially.
There was a little more suspense for Cole's UCLA teammate, fellow junior righthander Trevor Bauer. But Cole was ready when commissioner Bud Selig announced that the Diamondbacks had taken Bauer with the third overall selection.
"I gave him a call right after he got picked," Cole said. "We were both ecstatic—just kind of (exchanged) congratulations back and forth, really. I had a little more time to think about the conversation than he did, and that kind of jumped on him pretty quick. So there wasn't really a lot of substance because I think we're both pretty much speechless."
"I think he probably had my number ready and hit 'call,' " Bauer said, "because the call came in a couple seconds after the pick was announced."
The two Bruins matured together in three years at UCLA, and so did their relationship—which was once a bit rocky, as Bauer confided back in January. They drove each other and made each other better, and Monday they became the first pair of college teammates to be drafted among the top three picks since Arizona State's Bob Horner and Hubie Brooks in 1978.
"I think it really speaks to the talent pool in Southern California, and also being on a staff with him," Bauer said. "When you have that competition on the same staff as you, it pushes you to get better. It's been a motivating factor for me to go out and compete and try to out-pitch him. I think it pushes everyone on the staff to try to get better."
UCLA coach John Savage said he thinks the competition between Bauer and helped both pitchers "a ton."
"They're two of the most competitive guys I've ever been around," Savage said. "Gerrit pitched on Friday, Trevor pitched on Saturday for most of their careers at UCLA. There were a lot of competitions going back and forth—strikeouts, performances, number of hits—and I think they fed off each other. Sometimes it doesn't work, but I think in this case it did for both of them. Coming out of college being the first and third picks, I don't think a lot of people could argue that both of them performed and fed off it in a positive way."
Cole and Bauer both heaped praise on Savage and his staff for helping them develop, and so did Pirates scouting director Greg Smith.
"Obviously (Savage has) done a good job developing young men, quality student-atheltes," Smith said. "It's just a credit to what the UCLA Bruins are doing out there."
"It's really a credit to coach Savage and his recruiting, and his knowledge about pitching," Bauer said. "Without him, I don't think either of us would have been drafted that high. He's taught me and Gerrit a whole lot in our time at UCLA—we've spent three years with him. We've picked up countless amounts of knowledge: the changuep, how important it is to command the fastball to both sides of the plate, when to throw the breaking ball in the dirt, stuff like that . . . I feel like we've done a good job taking a program that was building momentum and carrying that on."
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