Indians Select Aiken, McKenzie and Hillman in Top Two Rounds of Draft

The Cleveland Indians announced the selection of left-handed pitcher Brady Aiken with the club’s first selection (17th overall) in the 2015 First-Year Player Draft. Later in the first round they selected right-handed pitcher Triston McKenzie and finished the evening by selecting left-handed pitcher Juan Hillman in the second round.

The selection marks the second consecutive year Aiken has been selected in MLB’s First-Year Player Draft, having been tabbed with the first overall pick by the Houston Astros last June. Aiken, 18, is a 2014 graduate of Cathedral Catholic High School (San Diego, CA), where he compiled a 7-0 record with a 1.06 ERA in 11 starts in his senior season. Brady was a 2014 Perfect Game USA first Team All-American and led Team USA to the gold medal at the 18U World Cup in Taiwan in September 2013, including a win in the championship game vs. Japan (7.0IP, 1R, 10K). He was the fifth LHP selected first overall and the first since David Price (Tampa Bay) in 2007.

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound lefty enrolled at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL in February 2015 as a postgraduate high school student after he and the Astros were unable to reach an agreement on a professional contract by the July 18, 2014 deadline. After making one appearance for the IMG Academy, Aiken underwent reconstructive left elbow surgery on March 26 in New York City (Dr. David Altchek) and is currently two and a half months post-op.

Aiken’s selection marks the second consecutive year the Indians have selected a high school, left-handed pitcher in the first round, tabbing left-handed pitcher Justus Sheffield with the 31st overall pick in 2014. Since 1980, the club has selected three high school left-handed pitchers (Aiken, Sheffield, CC Sabathia).

McKenzie, 17, is a 2015 graduate of Royal Palm Beach (FL) High School, where he compiled a 9-5 record with a 0.79 ERA during his senior campaign, tallying 157 strikeouts against just 16 walks across 91.0 innings/15 games. McKenzie was a 2015 Perfect Game USA first-team Preseason All-American and led Royal Palm Beach to the Class 7A state tournament for the first time since 2000. The right-hander threw five complete games in the tournament and allowed just 4 runs, 3 of which came in the team’s state semifinal loss.

The 6-foot-5, 160-pound Vanderbilt commit entered his senior season as a Baseball America third-team Preseason High School All-American. McKenzie’s selection marks the second consecutive year that the Indians have selected a high school pitcher in the first round, tabbing  Sheffield with the 31st overall pick in 2014.

Hillman, 18, is a 2015 graduate of Olympia High School (Orlando, FL), where he recorded a 10-0 record with a 1.44 ERA across 62.0 innings/12 games during his senior campaign. The left-hander struck out 80 batters against just 12 walks. Cameron was a 2015 Perfect Game USA first team Preseason All-American selection and was named to the Florida All-Region First Team.

The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Central Florida commit has been mentored by his godfather and former Major League pitcher Tom Gordon.

Photo: Getty Images

 

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