7. Gerrit Cole, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates
Cole soon to fill hole in Bucs' rotation
Cole was one of the most accomplished pitchers in the collegiate ranks when he was selected with the first overall pick in 2011 by the Buccos out of UCLA. He spent last year toiling at three minor league levels, including one start with Triple-A Indianapolis, and he combined to go 9-7 with a 2.80 ERA, 136 strikeouts and 45 walks in 132 innings (26 starts).
The Newport Beach, Calif., native has the ability to reach triple digits on his heater and projects to be a dominant, workhorse-like ace in Pittsburgh. He attacks hitters with aggressiveness on the bump. Watch as he makes another top prospect look overmatched in last year's Futures Game. He has great size (6-foot-4, 220 pounds) and three other pitches -- slider, curve and changeup -- that make him very close to major league-ready. He has a tendency to overthrow at times, but he's good enough to get away with it ... usually.
Cole could use a bit more polish to command his raw pitching power, but he's not far off. A September or earlier call-up is realistic given the question marks in the Pirates' rotation. It remains to be seen if he can improve his command enough to become a reliable ace, but if he shows he can this year in the minors, expect him basically to be a rotation lock in spring training next year. It won't be long before you'll be considering him for your fantasy baseball rotation.
On to No. 8
Top fantasy baseball prospects - AL 1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15 | 16-20 | 21-25
Top fantasy baseball prospects - NL 1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15 | 16-20 | 21-25
About Keith Hernandez
Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.
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