When Gerrit Cole and David Price square off at Fenway Park in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series between the Astros and Red Sox on Sunday, it will mark the first time in MLB postseason history that the pitching matchup will feature two former No. 1 overall Draft
When Gerrit Cole and David Price square off at Fenway Park in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series between the Astros and Red Sox on Sunday, it will mark the first time in MLB postseason history that the pitching matchup will feature two former No. 1 overall Draft picks starting against each other.
The 28-year-old Cole was the more recent draftee of the two, selected by the Pirates first overall in the 2011 Draft as a junior out of UCLA with an $8 million signing bonus after helping take the Bruins to the NCAA Championship Series as a sophomore in '10. That '11 UCLA team was loaded with talent, featuring seven eventual Major Leaguers, including Cole's rotation-mate Trevor Bauer, who was drafted third overall by the D-backs in that same Draft.
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Price, the 33-year-old left-hander, was already a budding Major League star when Cole was drafted. After breaking his Vanderbilt record for strikeouts as a junior in 2007, he was selected first overall by the Rays in the '07 Draft with a $5.6 million signing bonus. Price took just more than a year to crack the Major Leagues for the first time, making his debut as a September call-up in '08.
That Vanderbilt team also boasted seven future big leaguers, including Price, Pedro Alvarez, Ryan Flaherty and Mike Minor.
As would be expected of two 100-win teams squaring off in the ALCS, the Astros and Red Sox have a plethora of first-round talent on their postseason rosters.
Astros shortstop Carlos Correa was also a first overall pick in 2012, a year after Cole, and Houston's roster also boasts a pair of No. 2 picks in Game 1 starter Justin Verlander ('04, Tigers) and AL Most Valuable Player Award candidate Alex Bregman ('15, Astros). Lance McCullers and George Springer were also first-round selections, with Springer coming off the board 10 picks after Cole in '11.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, feature a pair of first-rounders alongside Price atop their starting rotation in No. 27 pick Rick Porcello (2007, Tigers) and No. 13 pick Chris Sale ('10, White Sox). Reliever Matt Barnes, catcher Blake Swihart and outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. were also first-round selections in that '11 Draft, and Andrew Benintendi went No. 7 overall in '15.
Do-Hyoung Park is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter at @dohyoungpark.