2. Gerrit Cole (2011):
Gerrit Cole, one of the most successful first overall picks in Pirates' history, was chosen with the top selection in the 2011 MLB Draft. The right-handed pitcher showcased remarkable talent throughout his collegiate career at UCLA, and his skills translated seamlessly to the professional level.
Cole's arsenal features a blazing fastball that often touches the upper 90s, complemented by a devastating slider and a sharp curveball. His ability to command the strike zone and induce swings and misses made him a formidable force on the mound. During his tenure with the Pirates, Cole consistently ranked among the league leaders in strikeouts, displaying his dominance and establishing himself as an ace. Here were his overall numbers with the Pittsburgh Pirates:
- Record: 59-42
- ERA: 3.50
- Innings Pitched: 782.1
- Strikeouts: 816
Gerrit Cole emerged as a dominant force in the Pirates' rotation during his tenure with the team. He consistently ranked among the league leaders in strikeouts and showcased his ability to control the game on the mound. Cole would be traded to the Houston Astros following the 2017 season.
3. Bryan Bullington (2002):
Bryan Bullington was the first overall pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2002 MLB Draft. As a right-handed pitcher out of Ball State University, he showcased promising potential, which led to high expectations from the organization and fans alike.
- Record: 1-9
- ERA: 5.62
- Innings Pitched: 81.1
- Strikeouts: 53
Bryan Bullington's career with the Pirates did not meet the high expectations set for a first-overall pick. He struggled with injuries and had limited success during his time with the team, making a small impact on the pitching staff. Of course, then General Manager Dave Littlefield did say that he believed Bullington would make "a good third starter". So yeah he probably should not have been the top overall selection.
While Bullington's professional career didn't pan out as anticipated, his journey serves as a reminder of the inherent uncertainty in player development. Despite facing challenges, Bullington demonstrated perseverance and contributed to the Pirates' pitching staff during his time with the team. His story serves as a testament to the unpredictable nature of the MLB Draft.