The Houston Astros selected 17-year-old Brady Aiken from California as the No. 1 overall pick in the MLB Draft on June 5.
"Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow cellphone rang just as he stopped 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 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."
Aiken told McTaggart he couldn't be more excited.
"It's really a big honor, and I just think I've worked hard enough and I've done everything I could to put myself in the position that the Astros wanted to make the move, so I'm really excited to get the call. I'm just excited to go out there and start working hard and start helping the team."
The Houston Chronicle's Evan Drellich reports Aiken is the most advanced high school prospect the Astros have ever scouted.
"As a pitcher, the 6-3, 210-pound Aiken is remarkably advanced, and he had to be for the Astros to take a high school arm at the highest possible position. Prep pitchers are inherently riskier than college pitchers, because there's more time before they reach the majors and simply a smaller body of work to evaluate.
"How's this for high praise?
"'This is the most advanced high school pitcher I've ever seen in my entire career,' general manager Jeff Luhnow said. 'He has command like I've never seen before.'
"'The reason he was (ranked) so high last year was because of his command and pitchability, and then his stuff took a tick up as he came into this year, and that's when he just exploded.
"Aiken's fastball sits at 92-93 mph, reaching 96-97 mph at its peak. He isn't blow-you-away overpowering, at least not at this stage of his career, but he has poise, command and approach. He's projectable, low-effort -- essentially, any positive term one can label a young pitcher applies to Aiken, aside from 'flamethrower.'
"'I throw a four-seam and a two-seam fastball, and then I throw a curveball and a changeup,' Aiken said. 'I started throwing the cutter a little bit but then I decided to lay off because of all the arm injuries that are happening...My game is around going after the hitter, being aggressive and commanding the plate and commanding all my pitches.'"
"Aiken will likely start at short season rookie league Greeneville or Tri-City and be kept on an innings-limit similar to the way the Astros handled last year's No. 1 overall pick, Mark Appel," per CSNHouston.com's John Kelly.
McTaggart also notes the Astros selected University of Virginia lefty outfielder Derek Fisher with the 37th overall pick on Thursday.
Fisher, a freshman All-American in 2012, currently has a batting average of .290 to go along with 17 home runs and 121 RBIs with the Cavaliers.
Elias told McTaggart,"He's played mostly left field throughout his career, wherever he's been. I don't think his value is whether we'll be able to slot him in center field or not. We think the bat is going to play in the corner-outfield spot."