RHP / UCLA
Hometown: Santa Ana, Calif.
Previously Drafted: Yankees ’08 (1)
Birthdate: Sept. 8, 1990
SCOUTING PROFILE: From the moment Cole rejected a first-round offer from the New York Yankees out of a California high school in 2008, he was installed as the top prospect in the Draft Class of 2011. He has been under a microscope in three seasons as the Friday starter for UCLA, and largely has lived up to expectations—even as he has often been outpitched the last two years by his less-heralded Bruins teammate Trevor Bauer, who is on his way to leading the nation in strikeouts for a second straight season. Cole has the most electric stuff in college baseball with a fastball that routinely sits in the mid-90s, will top out in triple digits on occasion and has tons of late life and movement. He complements his fastball with a high-80s slider that also has exceptional life and movement, and ranks among the best off-speed pitches in the amateur ranks. His changeup has developed this spring into a dominant third pitch. His extended mid three-quarters release point is a bit lower than standard, yet helps add to his fastball life. Cole’s clean delivery, aggressive makeup and more-mature approach to pitching this spring have only served to round out his package. He had an outstanding sophomore season at UCLA, going 11-4, 3.37 with 153 strikeouts in 123 innings, and was dominant for a second summer with USA Baseball’s college national team (2-0, 0.72, 25 IP, 4 BB/25 SO). Though he has posted a more-modest 4-4, 2.78 record with 76 strikeouts in 71 innings this spring (Bauer, by comparison, is 8-1, 1.42 with 127 strikeouts in 83 innings), Cole is still heavily favored to be the first college pitcher drafted in June. He may no longer be a slam dunk to go first or second overall, however, as he has not been as consistently dominant midway through the 2011 season as he was early, when he threw six perfect innings in consecutive starts. Scouts saw a little more effort in his delivery and noted that his command wasn’t as sharp. His stuff also flattened out a bit. In the end, he’ll still be a prominent factor in the draft with the only remaining suspense, in all likelihood, being whether Pittsburgh drafts him with the No. 1 pick or Seattle takes him at No. 2.
Projected Draft Position: First round / top 3 picks.
Perfect Game Events Attended:
2007 Sunshine West Showcase
2007 National Showcase
2007 Area Code Games
2007 AFLAC All American Classic
2007 WWBA World Championship