Astros go pitching with top pick

HOUSTON -- Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow's cell phone rang just as he stepped to the podium to meet the media shortly after drafting high school left-hander Brady Aiken with the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday's First-Year Player Draft.

On the other end of the line was the man of the hour, or more like the boy wonder. Aiken -- a 17- year-old with so much poise and upside he has been compared to Clayton Kershaw and Andy Pettitte -- and Luhnow exchanged pleasantries before the GM passed on a word from manager Bo Porter.

"Bo asked me if you're available tomorrow in Minneapolis," Luhnow joked.

Aiken, of course, has a long road ahead of him to reach the Major Leagues, but the Astros are confident he'll be a big part of their rotation in the future. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Aiken appears to be the whole package -- size, poise, good feel for pitching and possesses a great makeup, which was a word the Astros used repeatedly.


"The tools are in place to get a front-line starter, a big left-hander in our rotation for a long time," Astros scouting director Mike Elias said. "We think he can log innings, with the way he's thrown the ball and the way he's built."

Aiken, drafted out of Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego, is the second consecutive pitcher the Astros have taken with the No. 1 overall pick, joining Stanford right-hander Mark Appel. It's also the second time in three years the Astros have drafted a 17-year-old with the top pick, joining 2012 top pick Carlos Correa, a shortstop taken out of Puerto Rico.


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