LHP Brady Aiken was drafted No. 1 overall in last year’s draft. This year, he went to the Cleveland Indians with the 17th overall pick. If he wasn’t injured, he could very well have been the No. 1 pick in this draft as well. It was a bit of a surprise for the Indians to draft Aiken, considering the fact that he underwent Tommy John surgery in March so he won’t be pitching in the Indians’ farm system until next summer. Drafting Aiken is a high-risk, high-reward type move but should benefit the Tribe.
Aiken is only 18 years old and pitched this season for IMG Academy (Florida) a post-graduate program that allowed Aiken to become draft-eligible this season but only made one start because of undergoing Tommy John surgery. In high school, Aiken was 18-4 in his three-year career with a 1.09 ERA pitching out of Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego, California.
A lot of people have wondered how I could have turned down a multi-million-dollar signing bonus after being picked first in the Draft. Now, I know they’ll probably be wondering about it again. I can honestly say I don’t regret not signing. It was a very difficult decision, but it also was an informed decision based on circumstances only a few people know the truth about. My family and I planned for all the possible outcomes. We weighed the pros and cons, talked with friends and mentors and doctors whose opinions we value and discussed it over a number of family dinners. This wasn’t a decision we made lightly.
Indians fans shouldn’t be worried about signing Aiken. He will be eager to finally begin his professional career after a couple of setbacks.