The Houston Astros seem to have dodged a bullet when they were unable to come to agreement with their first round draft pick in 2014.
The Astros selected Brady Aiken first overall in the First-Year Player Draft last year. The 18-year-old left-hander out San Diego’s Cathedral Catholic High has the potential to develop three above-average pitches in his fastball, curveball and changeup.
He was going to sign a record (for a prep pitcher) $6.5 million contract with the Astros until he was examined by the team’s medical staff.
Once Aiken was examined by the team’s medical staff, it was determined that he would likely need Tommy John surgery at some point in the future. The team lowered their offer to $5 million and there was no deal. Aiken left $5 million sitting there and walked away.
Thursday Aiken underwent Tommy John surgery which he announced on the The Players’ Tribune website.
He’d gotten in to the IMG Academy’s post-graduate program and planned on preparing for the 2015 draft but after only 13 pitches in his first start for IMG his UCL tore.
“I just put my total focus into preparing for the 2015 Draft.
Aiken wrote on the site about what happened last summer after he didn’t sign with Houston,
“My workouts were the best they had ever been. I was throwing better and harder than I had ever before. And then, in my first game for IMG Academy last week, I threw a pitch and something felt a little wrong.
Despite, being disappointed that, and Aiken doesn’t actually say this but, the Astros’ were right he describes being injured and having to comeback from Tommy John surgery, “a temporary setback.” He believes he still has a chance in the 2015 draft and he could be right.
“When I decided not to sign, I knew injuries were always a possibility. Two other pitchers drafted after me in the first round last year were picked by their teams despite just having undergone Tommy John surgery,” Aiken wrote.
This is true and a lot of pitchers do well after Tommy John surgery but more and more, they are getting their second procedure done before the age of 30. For Aiken having had his first one at just 18 years old, well if I were a GM I’d be nervous about it.
Still it’s highly likely that at least one team will take the chance and wait out Brady’s recovery period in order to procure young talent. Aiken is very talented, but how long will he last is my question?