While the debate about the collective bargaining agreement has all but disappeared now that Kris Bryant is a Cub, a 2014 MLB draft pick seems likely to reignite the fire. Brady Aiken was the number one overall pick by the Houston Astros last year, and despite Jeff Lunhow's comments that Aiken was "the most advanced high school pitcher [he'd] ever seen in [his] entire career" a deal wasn't reached.
Talks fell apart because of injury concerns, in which someone stated that in regards to his Aiken's UCL, "he may have some [of the UCL], but not much. Months after this fiasco,both parties seemed prime d to move on. Then in Aiken's first start at IMG Academy, he was removed with undisclosed injury. The next day he confirmed what most people were guessing.
Aiken was the latest victim in an ever growing list of Tommy John surgery victims, but his procedure didn't go smoothly. Because of a lack of medical information before the draft, the Astros did not sign their first overall pick. This undoubtedly hurt their progress as a franchise, and clearly rustled some feathers in the upper ranks of MLB.
Major league baseball does not have a pre-draft combine like the NFL or NBA, and as such teams don't have access to medical records before making their selection. Under the current CBA, teams cannot ask players to undergo medical examinations until after being drafted. Because of this, teams don't truly know the health of players going into the draft.
Rob Manfred wants to prevent it from happening again
New commissioner Rob Manfred recently said that "we want medical information to be made to all clubs before the draft." He later added that he was puzzled as to why the players association would be ok with something like this. The truth is that the MLBPA should be vehemently against this, as it would undoubtedly harm their future members.
Under the current CBA, players can disclose as much as they want about medical conditions, injuries, or anything else concerned with their health. Manfred is proposing that all draft eligible players be subject to medical exams before the draft, so that all 30 teams would have up-to-date information. This would only benefit the teams, as this would clearly lead to injuries being discovered just before the draft, hurting the players draft stock.
2015 MLB Draft news & notes:
What should the Astros do in the 2015 MLB draft? - Minor League Ball
So what do you do if you are the Astros? You hold picks two and five. Do you draft one pitcher and one hitter? Two hitters? Two pitchers? College, high school, or one of each?
2015 MLB draft: Red Sox targeting Carson Fulmer, Alex Bregman with No. 7 pick - Over the Monster
Ben Cherington was caught on national television scouting one of them, which hasn't helped stop the rumors.
College Draft Prospects Stat Roundup: Week 10 - BaseballAmerica.com
"This year’s draft class is down, and no one denies that. Making matters worse, more players are getting hurt every week. Falling victim to the injury bug this weekend were Santa Barbara righthander Dillon Tate and Virginia lefthander Nathan Kirby. Fortunately, neither injury looks to be a indicative of long-term issues; Tate strained a trap muscle in the weight room, and Kirby sustained a strained lat during his Friday start against Miami."
- At Viva El Birdos, The Red Baron looks at three catching prospects