Cleveland Indians: Brady Aiken is Worth the Gamble

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The Draft is a game of chance no matter the pick

The former No. 1 overall pick by the Houston Astros last season was on everyone’s “sleeper list” for the draft. When he was still available at No.17, the

Cleveland Indians

made Brady Aiken their first-round pick. Is a pitcher coming off

Tommy John

surgery worth the gamble? Absolutely. Every pick in the draft is a gamble when you’re dealing with young kids.

Last year, the Astros and Aiken initially agreed to the $6.5 million signing bonus. But following the physical, the Astros backed off. The fear wasn’t just that he may need Tommy John surgery, but that the structure of his elbow may not be able to fully recover from it. Even with that, the Astros continued to try to sign him, but at a much lower price. The two sides couldn’t come to an agreement, so the Astros received a compensatory pick in the first-round for this season.

To make himself eligible for this year’s draft, Aiken enrolled at the IMG Academy rather than go to college. But he made it just 16 pitches into his only start before leaving the game, and eventually needing the surgery.

Indians Director of Scouting Brad Grant was happy with the work they had done over the past two seasons on Aiken and were satisfied with their findings.

"“We did our due diligence with Brady and feel very good about being able to select him,” said Grant. “I’m not going to get into the specifics of it (the state of Aiken’s elbow) but we did our due diligence with him and feel good about where we are with him.”"

He also said they didn’t speak with the Astros on their experience with Aiken, but that seems irrelevant anyhow. The experience had by the two sides was unfortunate, but it wasn’t going to help the Indians in their assessment of Aiken.

Aiken is just the third left-handed high school pitcher the Indians have taken in the past years. He joins last year’s pick Justus Sheffield and C.C. Sabathia, the latter who went on to with the Indians second Cy Young in 2007.

Next: Indians draft pair of high school pitchers

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