The lefty is wrapping up his first completely healthy offseason, and could serve as a turning point. The Indians grabbed Aiken with the 17th overall pick in the first round of the MLB Draft -- a year after he went first overall, but did not sign with the Astros.
The left-hander has as good of a pedigree as any pitching prospect, but his path to stardom was put in jeopardy when he underwent Tommy John surgery prior to being selected by Cleveland.
Aiken showed his promise in spurts inbut it was a trying season, as can often be the case for a pitcher working through his first full tour after elbow surgery.
He did not feature the mph fastball that he did as a top prospect out of high school -- he now sits in the mph range -- but the left-hander has high expectations for himself in ' This year was frustrating.
But at the same time, I learned a lot from the team side, learning about different things that I need to do to get my body in the right state of mind and go out there and compete on every fifth day.
The first two Minor League seasons were not easy for Aiken. Aiken has been ranked as high as the No. The left-hander now ranks as the Indians' No. But, as frustrating as last season was in terms of numbers, Aiken did achieve his top goal: Aiken led the Midwest League with 27 starts and didn't miss a turn, proving to himself that he isn't fragile.
Without any health complications inAiken can finally complete his offseason program at full strength. No need to hold back in throwing drills. No more babying his arm.
That should allow Aiken to take a big step forward this year. As Aiken grows more agile and athletic, it should become Aiken dating site video 2019 wc final last 24 for him to repeat his delivery and straighten out his mechanics, which in turn should improve his control.
That pinpoint command in the strike zone is usually one of the last things to come back to pitchers as they recover from Tommy John surgery. That lack of control was particularly frustrating for Aiken, who issued at least three walks in 23 of his 27 starts last season, leading to an oversized 6. He was throwing quality stuff, but it was not in the strike zone often enough. Aiken was comforted by the fact that he was eliciting weak contact when opponents were able to put their bats on the ball last season.
As an indicator, only Now it comes down to how he can translate those improvements into results on the field. He showed flashes of his potential when he gave up two runs or fewer in four of his last five starts ofand he carries that confidence into the next season.
Ben Weinrib is a reporter for MLB. Follow him on Twitter at benweinrib.