After being the runner-up for several of our top prospect votes, pitcher Brady Aiken finally finds his spot in our Top 20 Cleveland Indians prospect list at number seven. Aiken was the Indians first pick of the 2015 First-Year Player Draft at 17th overall; just one year after being the first overall choice of the Houston Astros.
The saga of Brady Aiken and the Houston Astros was a bizarre one, but the gist of it is that the Astros drafted Aiken with their first pick in the 2014 draft, but saw concerning results in Aiken's physical before the two reached a signing agreement. Soon after that, the Astros reduced their offer to $3.2 million (down from $6.5 million). Aiken had Tommy John surgery the following year in March 2015 and was drafted in June 2015 by the Indians.
Aiken has still not pitched in the minor leagues as a member of the Indians organization and he likely will not until after the 2016 season starts. Prior to the injury, however, scouts loved his command and stuff of his three pitches, including a mid-90s fastball that may or not may still be there once he recovers from Tommy John Surgery. That is where the issue lies in evaluating Aiken; if he returns to pre-TJ form he is a potential number one starter, but who knows how he will recover. The outlook of pitchers after undergoing Tommy John surgery has improved greatly in recent, so hopefully the Indians will, in the end, have a No. 1 pick's worth of talent at No. 17 overall.
The recently-released Baseball America Indians top prospect list has Aiken as the Tribe's top overall pitching prospect, third overall prospect behind Bradley Zimmer and Clint Frazier. Minor League Ball has him at ninth overall, behind five other pitchers, but John Sickels notes that if Aiken is healthy in 2016 he would have "the best combination of stuff and command" of all Indians prospects.
The next vote will probably be a runaway for Tyler Naquin, based on the last poll, but after that, it will be wide open.