Yesterday's poll on picking a high school pitcher in the 2010 class illustrates an interesting point, and it's one that isn't discussed a lot in the blogosphere.
A.J. Cole of Oviedo High School near Orlando has been on the minds of people following this class for a long time. He has featured 90+ mph fastballs for over 2 years now, and he's been living in a lean, projectable frame for that amount of time, too. Anytime that combination is found, a player is an odds on favorite to be highly-rated in his draft class. Cole has matured, and he's now able to touch 97-98 on the radar gun, but there's still the feeling that his actual pitching skill hasn't developed at the same pace as his pure arm strength has. However, since that feeling isn't necessarily communicated well in the public sphere, Cole continues to be thought of largely as the second-best pitching prospect in the class behind Jameson Taillon.
Karsten Whitson represents the other side of the sphere when it comes to public draft information. Whitson, who carries a frame that is also projectable, hasn't been the highest-rated name in the class at the same level that Cole was for the last couple of years. He's always been near the top, but he's been largely excluded from a discussion that focused on choosing between Taillon and Cole for the top prep arm. However, Whitson has been following a solid development path that has seen his pure stuff mature at the same rate as his pitchability, and he now possesses a plus arsenal with solid command.
This post isn't to say that I'm against choosing Cole. There are plenty of reasons to favoring A.J. Cole over Karsten Whitson. His ceiling is almost certainly higher than Whitson's, and he's been more of a proven product on the prospect scene. However, I just want to say that the highest-rated pitchers in a class years before their draft year aren't necessarily the best pitchers when the draft year comes around.
All this being said, let's have a runoff between Cole and Whitson, who are in a dead heat with 47 votes apiece in the poll from yesterday.
Do you choose Cole or Whitson? What's your thought process when making the decision?