Last year, there was quite a bit of controversy involving the first pick of the MLB Amateur Draft. The Astros had selected Brady Aiken, and had seemingly reached a verbal agreement to sign him, but backed away after they did not like the results of an MRI they took on his pitching elbow. As a result, Aiken was left unsigned, and had enrolled in IMG Academy in order to be eligible for this year’s draft.
Then, disaster. Aiken threw twelve pitches in his first outing before feeling discomfort in his elbow. As it turned out, Aiken needed Tommy John surgery, meaning that he will not be able to pitch until the middle of next season at the earliest. In all likelihood, Aiken will not be taken with the first overall pick again.
However, this could turn out to be quite the windfall for the Kansas City Royals. As they have the 21st pick in the draft, the Royals would seemingly be unable to select Brady Aiken if he was healthy. In fact, he may not last beyond the first ten picks, even with his injury. However, the chances that he would be available when the Royals pick are certainly greater than they had been.
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A large part of how the Kansas City Royals have been able to emerge as a contending ballclub has to do with their pitching staff. While the bullpen and defense may get the bulk of the recognition, the Royals rotation certainly deserves credit. Both Yordano Ventura and Danny Duffy appear to be building blocks for the future, and are just the beginning of a wave of talented young starters coming through the system.
Being able to draft Brady Aiken would just further the Royals abundance of riches when it comes to talented young pitching. Added to prospects like Sean Manaea, Kyle Zimmer and Brandon Finnegan, the plethora of potential top of the rotation arms in the Royals system would certainly be the envy of virtually every other team.
Two or three weeks ago, the idea that the Kansas City Royals could get Brady Aiken with the 21st pick in the draft would have been entirely ludicrous. Now, due to his injury and subsequent surgery, there may be the chance that Aiken could end up as a part of the Royals system. If this happens, the Royals pitching prospects would certainly be the best in the game.