Aiken dealt six innings in his first scoreless outing of the season for Low-A Lake County on Friday. The 2015 first-round pick is just 2-10 for the Captains through 18 starts this season, and his 4.10 ERA and 1.76 WHIP aren't indicative of much growth. With a 57:67 K:BB through 90 innings, Aiken most certainly won't move up the organization's minor-league ladder in 2017.
Aiken picked up his first win of the season for Low-A Lake County on Tuesday, tossing five innings of two-run ball while scattering six hits and three walks. It was arguably Aiken's second-best outing of the campaign, which speaks to the extent that he's struggled in his first taste of full-season ball. Through seven starts, Aiken has turned in a 4.50 ERA, 1.82 WHIP and 20:28 K:BB over 34 innings. The excessive walks are the biggest concern about Aiken's statistical profile, and may ultimately force him to move to the bullpen if he fails to rein in the free passes over his next couple seasons in the minors.
Aiken will open the season at Low-A Lake County and start the Captains' home opener April 8. The ballyhoo behind Aiken was loud and proud when Cleveland drafted him with its top pick in 2015. A series of arm troubles led to Tommy John surgery and caused the prospect to fall off the radar in many circles. However, all indications are that the left-hander will begin 2017 healthier than he's been since entering professional baseball. Aiken is only 20 years old, and he can surely put himself back on the prospect map with a strong performance in his first full campaign.
Aiken, whose fastball had dipped more than five mph following Tommy John surgery, said his velocity has come back up and his arm feels "as ready as ever," MLB.com's Jim Callis reports. As the consensus top prospect out of high school, Aiken was drafted No. 1 overall to the Astros in 2014. The deal later fell apart after his physical raised more than one red flag. He attended IMG Academy post-graduate program in Florida, where the left-hander suffered an elbow injury that led to surgery. Cleveland decided to take a chance on the 20-year-old by drafting him with the 17th overall pick in 2016. Aiken told Callis that he believes the comeback experience will make him a better pitcher in the long run. The Tribe's No. 9 prospect is worth keeping an eye on in dynasty formats this season.
Aiken pitched two scoreless innings, allowing no hits and striking out three in his professional baseball debut for the ALZ Indians Monday. The long-awaited debut for the left-hander Aiken was a success as he continues on his road to recovery from Tommy John surgery. Aiken, the 17th overall pick in the 2015 draft, will be brought back slowly by the Indians organization. Look for him to spend most of his time in the Arizona League for the remainder of the 2016 season.
Last 7 Games