The Cleveland Indians selected Brady Aiken with the 17th overall pick in the MLB Draft. Aiken, a left handed starting pitcher, comes from the IMG academy post-graduate team. Brady is also known for being selected first overall in last year’s draft by the Houston Astros.
Aiken spent the last year at the IMG academy in Bradenton, FL after not signing with the Astros. His move to IMG came after he lost his college eligibility because of working with an agent, and having a stellar high school career in California.
Aiken has been known for his huge upside. The 6’4 starting pitcher has a mid 90s fastball, with two stellar off speed pitches. His curveball has tons of power, and scouts say he has the best change up in the draft. Also, he also handles himself under pressure well, notably when pitching in the gold metal game of the under-18 baseball World Cup.
But then comes the worries. With his power arm comes some major injury concerns. The Astros decided to pass on Aiken because a post-draft physical revealed a abnormally small UCL in his elbow. And the Astros doubts came true this past season, when he tore his UCL after 12 pitches in his first start.
According to Bleacher Report’s scouting report, Aiken compares to James Paxton of the Seattle Mariners. Both players are listed at 6’4″, with fastballs into the mid 90s, and are expected to be second or third in the starting rotation, with ace potential.
Aiken is fully expected to sign with the Indians, especially after his UCL surgery. Unfortunately, that will set him back and he may not start his pro career until the middle of next season. Even with that said, scouts do project him to make it up to the majors as early as 2018.
Brady Aiken’s Highlight tape: