Friday, March 27, 2015

Aiken's achin': Implications of a surgery

Brady Aiken, last summer's first overall draft pick whose failed negotiations with the Houston Astros wrecked the signing plans of two other prospects, had Tommy John surgery Wednesday.

The rapidity with which Aiken's injury appeared this spring (in his first start for the IMG Academy's postgraduate team) suggests that the Astros were right last summer about the condition of the lefty's elbow. Aiken and his advisors publicly denied that there was any issue, and I was, for whatever it's worth, skeptical of the Astros' good faith in the entire fiasco. Still am, for that matter; I can name other draft picks whose signing agreement ran aground on the medical exam without turning as ugly as this one did.

Aiken had signed with UCLA before the draft, but never enrolled there; the public nature of last summer's dispute made it likely that the NCAA would deem him ineligible under its nonsencial rules about agents. He's eligible for the draft again this summer, and even with this surgery is very likely to go top 10 again. (Last year a pitcher named Jeff Hoffman went ninth overall despite having Tommy John surgery about a month before the draft.)

The Twins draft sixth in June. Aiken is presumably on their radar.

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