It’s just about that time of the year again, time for Captains baseball. For left-hander Brady Aiken, who was named the teams starting pitcher for the home opener on Saturday night, it's time to officially hit the reset button.
Aiken was originally drafted first overall by the Houston Astros in 2014, but wasn't signed by the team. A year later the Indians selected him at the 17th overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft. Injuries have played a big part in the southpaw's career so far as he underwent Tommy John surgery not long after his first draft. However, all signs point toward a bounce back season.
“Spring was good, it’s always a good time out of spring training,” Aiken said after making his professional debut in 2016 without any setbacks, “It was a lot of fun and I think the main goal for me was to work on my pitches and stay healthy. That’s what I did and I feel like I’m in a good spot now going into the season.”
Brady Aiken isn't the most experienced pitcher on this team, having just only in a total of just 14 games as a pro since he had the surgery. While it might have been limited action, though, there surely are some things to take away from his experience last year.
“Just keep learning and keep growing on my mechanics,” Aiken said, “The main thing is just focus on learning something new everyday and keep maintaining my mechanical goals for the year and that'll be good.”
Brady Aiken went a combined 2-5 with a 5.83 last year with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers and the Arizona Indians. The left-hander pitched in nine games in the Arizona league before getting bumped up to Mahoning Valley. In five starts with the Scrappers, Aiken went 2-1 with a more respectable 4.43 ERA in five starts. Also, while his ERA may not have been the best between the two stops, the 20-year-old still fanned an impressive 57 batters in 46.1 innings of work. Getting the limited experience with the Scrappers was a confidence booster for Aiken as he started to show what he is capable of doing as a pitcher.
Heading into the 2017 season with the Captains, Aiken knew he had to get even better during the offseason. One main focus of his play was to work on his breaking pitches for the upcoming season.
“I was working on my changeup mainly in the Spring and I think its coming along better,” said Aiken, “It’s good now and I’m in a good spot heading into the season.”
The hope for Aiken is to put all his injury past behind him. He will get a fresh start to the season as he is finally back to full health. If he manages to avoid any health setbacks, the future looks bright for the California native.
The Captains will have the home opener set for Saturday, April 8. The game is set for 6:30 pm as Aiken is set to make his Captains debut. A strong season can help Aiken move on up through the organization and potentially reestablish himself as one of the game's top pitching prospects.