As soon as the Pirates picked UCLA right-hander Gerrit Cole first overall in Major League Baseball's first-year player draft Monday night, we could dare to dream about a formidable future starting rotation.
The Pirates have stockpiled power arms in the past two drafts, loading up on flamethrowers in hopes of finding a future ace, knowing it's the one thing they cannot afford to attract in the free-agent market. It's why they took a pitcher in the first round for the 12th time in the past 16 drafts.
"Pitching is a game of attrition, unfortunately," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said soon after choosing Cole. "You can never have too much of it. It's the most valuable commodity in our game."
By adding Cole, the Pirates are sending notice to former first-rounders Neil Walker, Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez and Tony Sanchez, as well as Jose Tabata, that top-of-rotation talent is on the way.