Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Ones that Got Away: Gerrit Cole

Previous Segments: Jose TabataIan KennedyAustin Jackson,and Ross Ohledorf
In these segments I will detail former Yankee prospects who were traded and have since become successful players for other teams.  The fifth in this series will be Gerrit Cole

Well this segment is going to be a little different.  As many of you may know Cole was never a Yankees prospect.  He was in fact drafted by the Yankees in the first round of the 2008 MLB draft but never signed even though it was rumored that he was going to be offered $4 million to sign.  He instead chose to play at UCLA.  However, as this years draft comes closer and Cole is considered a unanimous top 5 pick I want to look back at one who truly got away.

As I start my draft tuneup (this blog will have extensive coverage of the Yankees picks in the draft) I want to look at Gerrit Cole and see what could have been since at this point the Yankees have virtually no shot of getting him.

As a freshman at UCLA he was selected to the All-Pac Ten Team after going 4-8 but posting a very respectable 3.49 ERA and striking out 104 batters.  After that season he was selected to be on the USA Collegiate National Team.  With that team he posted a 4-0 record with an amazing 1.06 ERA.

During his sophomore season he really came into his own.  Although his ERA did not improve significantly, only to 3.37, his record was much better at 11-4.  He was voted as a third-team All-American by Baseball America.  That summer he again played for the National Team, this time going 2-0 with an even better 0.72 ERA.  He was rated the top prospect on the National Team for the second straight year by Baseball America.

As a junior he again lowered his ERA by a little bit to 3.28 but much like his freshman year did not have a great record at just 6-7.while striking out 108.  He was selected to the first team All-Americans by Baseball America and is now considered one of, if not the top pitching prospect in this years draft. 

So looking back it looks like the Yankees were very astute to the potential this kid had.  There were two reasons however that he slipped to the Yankees at 28.  First being that he had pledged to attend UCLA and although some thought he wouldn't go this turned away many teams.  Secondly, he was represented by Scott Boras and any team drafting him knew they would have to pony over the money if they drafted this kid.  This again turned away some teams.  But in the end he chose to attend UCLA and we will never know how good a Yankee he could have been unless he gets traded to them at some point in his career.

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