Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Astros Draft Lefty Aiken at No. 1 Overall

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Astros Draft Lefty Aiken at No. 1 Overall

Article excerpt

SECAUCUS, N.J. * The Houston Astros selected California high school pitcher Brady Aiken with the first pick in the Major League Baseball draft Thursday night.

The polished lefty from San Diego's Cathedral Catholic High is just the third prep pitcher to be selected first overall, joining fellow lefties Brien Taylor (1991, Yankees) and David Clyde (1973, Rangers).

Aiken also is the first high school lefty to be drafted in the first five picks since Adam Loewen went fourth overall to Baltimore in 2002. The UCLA recruit has terrific control of a fastball that hits 96-97 mph, a knee-buckling curve and a tough changeup that sits in the low- to mid-80s.

"It's the most advanced high school pitcher I've ever seen in my entire career," Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. "He has command like I've never seen before of his stuff."

Aiken's draft stock rose late last year when he struck out 10 in a gold medal-winning performance against Japan in the 18-and-under World Cup.

The Astros are the first team to select first in three consecutive drafts, having picked shortstop Carlos Correa in 2012 and righthander Mark Appel last year.

"I'm just ready to move forward and see what the Astros have in store for me in the future," Aiken said. "I'm just really excited."

With the second pick, Miami took hard-throwing Texas high school pitcher Tyler Kolek. The 6-foot-5, 230-pounder from Shepherd High School has a fastball that sits in the high 90s and touched 100-102 mph several times, causing many to compare him to some fellow Texas flamethrowers such as Nolan Ryan, Kerry Wood and Josh Beckett.

The Chicago White Sox took North Carolina State lefty Carlos Rodon with the third pick. The 6-3, 235-pound junior was widely regarded as the top college pitcher available in the draft and had been in the mix to go No. …

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