Cleveland Indians select LHP Brady Aiken with No. 17 pick in MLB Draft

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Cleveland Indians may have gotten huge steal by drafting former No. 1 overall pick at No. 17

The Cleveland Indians have drafted left-handed pitcher Brady Aiken with the 17th pick in the MLB Draft.

Aiken was, of course, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 draft but failed to sign after the Houston Astros decided they weren’t willing to meet their original signing bonus due to concerns over his elbow. Aiken decided against going to a 4-year college and instead enrolled at the IMG Academy. This allowed him to be draft eligible just one year later. Aiken was at one time considered to be a top 5 pick in this draft but he ended up having Tommy John surgery on March 26th this year and teams began to shy away.  However, the Indians clearly felt that his talent was worth the gamble and obviously feel comfortable with his medicals.

This pick is a reminiscent of the Washington Nationals selecting Lucas Giolito 16th overall in the 2012 draft (one spot after the Indians drafted Tyler Naquin). Giolito was considered the top high school player in the draft and many felt he could go first overall, but concerns over his arm caused him to drop and he eventually had Tommy John surgery himself.  However, three years later and Giolito is one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball and looks like he could be a steal for the Nationals.

Now that he’s been drafted though the real challenge happens as the Indians still need to sign Aiken. Despite the surgery Aiken still could be a tough sign as he has some of the best talent in the draft (and likely would become the No. 1 pitching prospect in the Indians’ system).  Slot value for the 17th overall pick this year is $2,393,600, which is significantly less than the Astros offered him even after they discovered the issue with his elbow. He could decide to roll the dice and try and get on the mound for the 2016 draft.  With that said, the Indians have an extra top 50 pick thanks to the Competitive Balance pick they won this off-season and may have the extra money needed to entice Aiken to sign. He may be motivated to get his professional baseball going and allow a big league medical staff to get a look at that arm.

The Cleveland Indians have two more picks on this the first day of the MLB draft. Their next pick is #42 and then they pick again in the second round at #59.  Stay tuned to Wahoo’s on First for further Indians draft developments.

Next: Indians send Ramirez to Triple-A

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