Last week we looked at high school catcher Alex Jackson. This week we’ll switch it over to the pitching side, looking at one of the top prep arms in the upcoming draft, Brady Aiken. Most rankings have Aiken in the 7-10 range, which means he is likely a player the Mets are paying close attention to.
Brady Aiken, Cathedral Catholic H.S (CA)
Aiken is a lanky, projectable kid with a great pitchers build that scouts think may continue to fill out. He’s coming off of a season that saw him named an Under Armor All-American for the second consecutive year. Brady is currently verbally committed to attend UCLA, but top-ten money will likely change his mind.
His fastball currently sits in the 89-91 range, topping out around 93. The pitch shows good arm-side run– moving in on lefties and tailing away from righties. It’s possible that the pitch could tick up in velocity as he fills out, but it’s already missing bats.
Brady works off of his fastball with a good change-up. The pitch comes in 81-83 and flashes great fade and depth. He works the pitch to both corners of the plate and keeps in down in the zone, making it a potential weapon versus both lefty and righty opponents.
Sitting in the low 70’s, his curveball flashes plus potential with sharp break and good rotation when he gets on top of it. He has shown some inconsistency throwing the pitch, which results it in being hit hard.
This is going to be the part of Aiken’s game that separates him from the pack– especially fellow high school draftees. Aiken displays an advanced feel for pitching, and it shows in his ability to throw all three of his pitches not only for strikes, but to specific locations within the strikezone.
There’s a lot to like about this kid. He’s got an easy, clean delivery he repeats well. His big projectable frame could allow his fastball velocity to tick up, making him an absolute monster. I’ve seen him compared to both Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee, which make sense when you look at his repertoire and his advanced feel for pitching. Of the three players I’ve profiled so far, Aiken has the best chance of being around at pick 10. However, a kid with this kind of upside could skyrocket with a good senior showing.