In the 2011 draft, there is no Stephen Strasburg or Bryce Harper who were pretty clearly the #1 overall player available in the draft. This year, there is a tough choice awaiting the Pittsburgh Pirates. The choice is between 3B Anthony Rendon out of Rice, and RHP Gerritt Cole out of UCLA.
Rendon has been limited some this year with a shoulder injury and may spend much of the rest of the season as the designated hitter in the Rice lineup. His defense doesn't need to be proven, but his ability to stay on the field has to start to be questioned a little. While his injuries have mostly been unusual and unable to avoid, it still shows a pattern. His bat is unquestioned and he is the best hitter available in this draft. He could be an all-star in Pittsburgh and allow the Pirates to have two slugging corner infielders with him and Pedro Alvarez. That could be a scary lineup in a couple of years. Looking at historical 3B picks in the study I did earlier this season, 90% of 1st round 3B make it to the majors and most become above average players.
Cole is not on the same level as Strasburg two years ago but he can also run it up to the upper 90's and has 3 plus pitches that could get players out in the majors right now. He doesn't have the injury concerns that Rendon has had but he has a higher risk rate than any hitter just because he is a pitcher and his arm could blow at any time. He has a solid build and looks like he'll hold up over the long haul, but that possibility is still there. If the Pirates go with Cole, they could potentially have a rotation that has 4 right handers that have consistent 95+ MPH heat in the majors within 5 years in Cole, Jameson Taillon, Luis Heredia and Stetson Allie. That has to be very tempting for the Pirates as well.
As long as the Pirates choose one of these two players, I don't think they can go wrong. Both will make a major league impact within a little over a year after they are drafted, and at worst in 2013. We will just have to wait to see which way they go.