2011 Draft Report Card: Pittsburgh Pirates


The Pirates continued to be as aggressive as any team in the draft. They set bonus records for total spending ($17 million), a single player ($8 million for Cole) and a non-first-rounder ($5 million for Bell).
Bonus Spending: $17.0 million
BEST PURE HITTER:  OF Josh Bell (2) was one of the best pure hitters in the draft, and he does his damage from both sides of the plate. A switch-hitter since age 5, he has a mature approach and repeatedly makes sweet-spot contact. 1B Alex Dickerson (3) was one of the top college hitters available. BEST POWER HITTER:  Bell has bat speed and strength, and he should have plus power once he gets more balanced and uses his legs more in his swing. Dickerson, who won the Big Ten Conference triple crown in 2010, has slightly above-average pop. FASTEST RUNNER:  OFs Taylor Lewis (10) and Candon Myles (12) both have plus speed and can run the 60-yard dash in 6.6 seconds. Lewis stole 16 bases in 20 attempts in his pro debut. BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER:  C Ryan Hornback (27) has solid catch-and-throw skills, agility and leadership ability. 2B/SS Kirk Singer (29) has good middle-infield actions, soft hands and a plus arm.


BEST FASTBALL:  RHP Gerrit Cole (1) had the draft's most electric arm in 2008, when he was a Yankees first-round pick out of high school, and again this year, when he went No. 1 overall. His fastball ranges from 93-98 mph and has peaked 101 mph, and he touched 100 in his first outing in instructional league. The Pirates also invested in several big high school righthanders, and 6-foot-6, 225-pound Clay Holmes (6) already can hit 94 mph. BEST SECONDARY PITCH:  Cole's slider grades as a plus-plus pitch at times, as does his changeup. The best curveball belongs to RHP Tyler Glasnow (5).


BEST PRO DEBUT: Most of Pittsburgh's top picks signed late, but Dickerson batted .313/.393/.493 at short-season State College. BEST ATHLETE: Lewis or Myles. Lewis has more present strength, while Myles was a college football prospect as a wide receiver. MOST INTRIGUING BACKGROUND: Myles' brother Bryson signed with the Indians as a sixth-round pick after leading NCAA Division I with 53 steals in the spring. CLOSEST TO THE MAJORS: Cole got his first taste of pro competition in the Arizona Fall League and could make his official debut in Double-A. Bell has the bat to move quickly for a high schooler. BEST LATE-ROUND PICK: Lewis and Myles immediately became two of the best athletes in the Pirates system. RHP Matt Benedict (30) opened eyes in instructional league with an 89-92 mph fastball, average curveball and feel for a changeup. THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY: High school OF Aaron Brown (17) starred against older players in the California Collegiate League this summer, then turned down third-round money to attend Pepperdine. Pittsburgh took fliers on several other prep standouts, including SS Trea Turner (20, now at North Carolina State), RHPs Brandon Platts (13, Missouri) and Kody Watts (15, Portland) and LHP Eric Skoglund (16, Central Florida).