What should the Detroit Tigers expect from the No. 1 pick?

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HOUSTON, TX - MAY 03: Carlos Correa #1 of the Houston Astros hits a home run in the eighth inning against the New York Yankees at Minute Maid Park on May 3, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - MAY 03: Carlos Correa #1 of the Houston Astros hits a home run in the eighth inning against the New York Yankees at Minute Maid Park on May 3, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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SECAUCUS, NJ – JUNE 5: Commissioner Allan H. Bud Selig announces that the Houston Astros have selected Brady Aiken number one overall during the MLB First-Year Player Draft at the MLB Network Studio on June 5, 2014 in Secacucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
SECAUCUS, NJ – JUNE 5: Commissioner Allan H. Bud Selig announces that the Houston Astros have selected Brady Aiken number one overall during the MLB First-Year Player Draft at the MLB Network Studio on June 5, 2014 in Secacucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

2014: Brady Aiken (Houston)

Left-hander Brady Aiken was about as accomplished as you can get for a high school pitcher. In 2013, he helped the United States win the 2013 18U Baseball World Cup.

Many had Aiken as the top prospect on the board going into the 2014 draft. The Astros were intrigued enough to take him with the top pick, envisioning a future rotation with Aiken and Appel.

Almost from the moment Aiken was selected, thing went south. First there were the health issues, as Aiken developed inflammation in his elbow. This new information reportedly killed a verbal agreement between the two sides. When Houston lowered their offer, Aiken declined to sign, and became the first number one overall pick to go unsigned since Tim Belcher in 1983.

A Draft Do-Over

With the deadline elapsed, Aiken decided to enroll at IMG Academy in Florida so he could be eligible for the 2015 draft. The southpaw exited in the first inning of his first start with discomfort in his elbow. In March of that year, he underwent Tommy John surgery.

Aiken was now even more of a risk because he was likely not going to be able to pitch for nearly a year after the upcoming draft. Despite the risks, the Indians grabbed him with the 17th overall selection.

The lefty made his pro debut just more than a year later, and put up a 5.83 ERA in 46.1 innings at two different stops. Despite the high ERA, Aiken showed some of the talent that made Cleveland risk taking him. In his first pro season, he struck out 11.1 batters per nine innings.

Last year, he made 27 starts at Class A, posting a 4.77 ERA. Despite the better ERA, he pitched worse than the year before, walking more batters than he struck out. Aiken has yet to make his 2018 debut, as he appears to be ticketed for short-season ball when it starts up next month.

The Verdict

For Houston, this is almost literally a zero, since Aiken never pitched for any of their affiliates. Their salvation came in the form of a compensation pick. A team is given a compensation pick if they fail to sign their first rounder from the previous year.

As a result, Houston got the second pick in 2015, which they used to select Alex Bregman. Bregman reached the majors quickly, and has seized the everyday third base job for the Astros. It turned out okay for Houston, but if Appel or Aiken had worked out, they may not have had to trade for Cole or Verlander.

At 21, Aiken is certainly young enough to make great strides, but his pro career is certainly off to a bumpy start.

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