BY BRIAN DURYEA
The Houston Astros have had the 1st pick in the MLB First Year Player draft for the last three years. However, they can no longer claim they’ve also signed them. Brady Aiken, the big left handed highschooler with a 96/97 mph fastball with Scherzer-like control and a curveball that Clayton Kershaw might even appreciate, was drafted 1st by the Astros in last month’s (2014) draft. However, the Astros and Aiken failed to come to terms by the signing deadline. This marks, by my count, only the 3rd time a 1st overall pick didn’t sign with the club he was drafted by since the MLB draft was instituted in 1965.
At the risk of pointing out the obvious: Houston, we have a problem.
Leave it up to the Astros to make something fairly routine more than difficult. At the same time, rumors abound that Aiken was originally offered 6.5 million yet the offer was lowered to around 3 once some testing on his elbow came back. Astros then raised the offer to 5 million in an attempt to make a deal happen only to have Aiken refuse and they both allowed the deadline to pass. ESPN reports that the commissioners office was in favor of the offers and stand by the Astros. Or so reads the comment sections of some of the ESPN buzz.
It’s hard to blame a kid like Aiken for not signing with the dumpster fire of Major League Baseball Organizations at the moment. But passing up a 5 million dollar offer out of principle seems like the beginning of a story of unfortunate events. Let’s hope he stays healthy in the next 12 months while playing semi-pro t0 enter the draft next year. Or, depending on how the NCAA sees the dealings, Aiken might go to a D-I school (like UCLA) and go into the draft when he is a Junior in college.
And since we are talking about him, why not mention that Aiken swung the BEST BAT OF 2014 in the Easton XL1 BBCOR in high school (or at least poses with them in pictures). A fantastic endloaded bomb dropping fool of a bat from Easton’s Power Brigade Series. It swings about 20% heavier than its similarly weighted cousin in the S1.
Astros fans may not be able to feel any worse for their team so I don’t suspect this is any salt in the wound. On the bright side, the Astros will get both next years 2nd pick in the 1st round as well as the pick they end up getting–which, we can guess at this point, will once again be the 1st.