Brady Aiken underwent Tommy John surgery yesterday, suggesting the Astros were right after all when they pulled their $6.5 million offer off the table last Summer.
The regressive nature of the Astros’ bargaining made the team look pretty bad last year, and I was one of the people to pile on. However, the fact that Aiken blew out his elbow tendon without pitching even one professional inning is pretty compelling evidence that the Astros had legitimate concerns about the thickness of his elbow tendon.
Part of the problem is with the draft system. Teams lose little by pulling offers after medical exams turn up something of concern, because they get a similar draft pick the next year (the Astros get the No. 2 pick in the 2015 Draft after not signing Aiken with the 1st overall pick in 2014). Meanwhile, agents don’t make prospects available for physical examinations until after an offer is on the table, because what the teams don’t know increases the likely draft position of players like Aiken.
Aiken may yet be a future 1st round pick, but it’s certain he’ll never be a top-five pick again. Jeff Hoffman went 9th overall last year after tearing his elbow tendon. Hoffman, however, a college pitcher with a more proven track record than any pitcher tearing his elbow tendon coming out of high school.