The last prospect I am going to review is Brady Aiken. For those of you who think he sounds familiar, it’s because he was last year’s number 1 pick. Rumor has it that the Astros found him to have a smaller than average UCL ligament (the ligament associated with Tommy John surgery) in his throwing arm. Up until that point, Aiken had never had elbow trouble, but the Astros lowered their bonus offer. Aiken did not sign and chose the route of IMG Academy with another Astros unsigned draftee Jason Nix.
Both players were committed to UCLA at the time, but it is widely assumed they went the IMG route because their advisor(s) were negotiating on their behalf, which is a strict NCAA no-no. It happened with James Paxton of the Seattle Mariners which led to Paxton playing independent league ball. Chances are Aiken and Nix would have been ruled ineligible.
Now, Aiken, first overall pick from 2014 is available again, maybe the Diamondbacks got lucky right? Wrong. Since the Houston Astros have sold their souls to the devil in return for sight beyond sight (Thundercats, ho!), they basically told Aiken that he wasn’t worth what he thought because he’s going to have Tommy John surgery in the future. Guess what? He did. The picture for this article is actually Jeff Luhnow, the Astros GM. It seems fitting that we pay homage to MLB’s very own Miss Cleo.
More from Diamondbacks Draft
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- MLB Draft 2018: Arizona Diamondbacks Select Matt McLain With 25th Pick
- Diamondbacks’ draft patterns include college-heavy picks
- Arizona Diamondbacks: Catcher in opening round possible
- 5 things you need to know about the D-Backs’ top draft picks
As we all know now, Tommy John surgery is hardly the end all be all of injuries, but it is still one of the hardest to return from and causes many pitchers to need to relearn how to pitch in ways they weren’t accustomed to previously.
Aiken was an uber-talent last year. High 90’s fastball, two additional pitches that project as plus offerings, and moxie out the ears when on the mound. If he doesn’t get injured, and he passes physicals with no issue last year, he is the first pick again this year (I still like Rodgers more than Aiken last year, but I am partial to star-potential in hitters than pitchers).
With all these other factors, there are mock drafts that don’t have him until the second round. Maybe the Diamondbacks can get Aiken with the 43rd pick and essentially have two talents worthy of the first overall pick in the draft. Time will tell. If Aiken is around, I hope the Diamondbacks take him. Whatever the stuff is that make the Matt Harveys, Max Scherzers, and Felix Hernandezes of the world, Aiken has it.