One round of the 2014 MLB draft is in the books, and the top prospect in this year's class now know what organization they will be representing to start out their professional careers.
Once again, it was the Houston Astros opening up the draft. Once again, they locked down a standout pitcher with star potential as they look to make the climb out of the MLB cellar.
The nation's top arms flew off the draft board even more after the Astros' top pick, but a number of position players squeaked into the first round, and there was a nice balance between the two early on in Round 1.
Let's break down all of the results from the first round of Thursday's draft.
|1||Houston Astros||LHP Brady Aiken||Central Cathedral HS (FL)||A-|
|2||Miami Marlins||RHP Tyler Kolek||Shepherd HS (TX)||A-|
|3||Chicago White Sox||LHP Carlos Rodon||N.C. State||A|
|4||Chicago Cubs||C/1B Kyle Schwarber||Indiana||C+|
|5||Minnesota Twins||SS Nick Gordon||Olympia HS (FL)||A-|
|6||Seattle Mariners||C/OF Alex Jackson||Rancho Bernardo HS (CA)||A|
|7||Philadelphia Phillies||RHP Aaron Nola||LSU||A|
|8||Colorado Rockies||LHP Kyle Freeland||Evansville||B+|
|9||Toronto Blue Jays||RHP Jeff Hoffman||ECU||B-|
|10||New York Mets||OF Michael Conforto||Oregon State||B+|
|11||Toronto Blue Jays||C Max Pentecost||Kennesaw State||B|
|12||Milwaukee Brewers||LHP Kodi Medeiros||Waiakea HS (HI)||C+|
|13||San Diego Padres||SS Trea Turner||N.C. State||A-|
|14||San Francisco Giants||RHP Tyler Beede||Vanderbilt||A|
|15||Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim||LHP Sean Newcomb||Hartford||A|
|16||Arizona Diamondbacks||RHP Touki Toussaint||Coral Springs Christian HS (FL)||B+|
|17||Kansas City Royals||LHP Brandon Finnegan||TCU||A-|
|18||Washington Nationals||RHP Erick Fedde||UNLV||C|
|19||Cincinnati Reds||3B/RHP Nick Howard||Virginia||B|
|20||Tampa Bay Rays||1B Casey Gillaspie||Wichita State||A|
|21||Cleveland Indians||OF Bradley Zimmer||San Francisco||A|
|22||Los Angeles Dodgers||RHP Grant Holmes||Conway HW (SC)||B+|
|23||Detroit Tigers||OF Derek Hill||Elk Grove HS (CA)||B+|
|24||Pittsburgh Pirates||SS Cole Tucker||Mountain Pointe HS (AZ)||C+|
|25||Oakland Athletics||3B/RHP Matt Chapman||Cal State Fullerton||C|
|26||Boston Red Sox||IF Michael Chavis||Sprayberry HS (GA)||A-|
|27||St. Louis Cardinals||RHP Luke Weaver||Florida State||A-|
|28||Kansas City Royals||LHP Foster Griffin||The First Academy (FL)||B+|
|29||Cincinnati Reds||3B Alex Blandino||Stanford||B|
|30||Texas Rangers||RHP Luis Ortiz||Sanger HS (NV)||A-|
|31||Cleveland Indians||LHP Justus Sheffield||Tullahoma HS (TN)||B+|
|32||Atlanta Braves||OF Braxton Davidson||T.C. Roberson HS (NC)||B|
|33||Boston Red Sox||RHP Michael Kopech||Mt. Pleasant HS (TX)||B+|
|34||St. Louis Cardinals||RHP Jack Flaherty||Harvard-Westlake HS (CA)||A-|
Brady Aiken Taken No. 1 Overall
For the second straight year, the Astros targeted a standout arm at the top of the draft. Only this time, he's a youngster.
Brady Aiken was taken with Houston's No. 1 overall pick on Thursday, as the Astros went with the Central Cathedral High School (San Diego, Calif.) standout over a plethora of college talent.
The move differentiated vastly from last year's, when the Astros took then 21-year-old Stanford pitcher Mark Appel—an elite prospect already established at a higher level than high school.
But there's no doubting Aiken's stuff, as MLB's Twitter account captured:
The 17-year-old is certainly less polished than some of his fellow pitchers, but he's leaps and bounds ahead of pitchers his age. He already has a 94 mph fastball, and his curveball is already arguably MLB-ready.
Aiken wasn't the only high school stud to come off the board early. In fact, Tyler Kolek going No. 2 overall to the Marlins made it a history-making draft, per MLB Draft:
It's no surprise to see teams near the top of the draft target young talent, especially if that player is willing to enter the minor leagues immediately rather than play college baseball.
But if anything, these two moves to open up Thursday's action at the MLB draft show how reliant the game is becoming on formidable pitching and how willing teams are to gamble for a prized arm.
White Sox Nab Carlos Rodon at No. 3
It was all but expected at one point that Carlos Rodon would be the first name called in the 2014 MLB draft. A less-than-stellar final season with N.C. State helped to keep that from happening—but only barely.
Rodon fell just to No. 3 overall, where the Chicago White Sox were waiting to nab him.
The 21-year-old differs much to the first two picks of the draft. Aiken and Kolek are 17 and 18, respectively, while Rodon boasts three seasons of a heavy workload with the Wolfpack.
That makes him much more ready to make the climb to the majors in a season or less, and the prospect of pitting him in the same rotation as emerging star Chris Sale has Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan putting the division on notice:
Chris Sale and Carlos Rodon. American League Central teams better load up on right-handed hitters. That is going to be a stacked rotation.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 5, 2014
If Rodon's performances at N.C. State against elite competition were any indication, he'll make the jump to the MLB quickly. His slider is already daunting enough to fool the game's best hitters, and a 6'3", 235-pound frame will allow his pitches to develop and his game to thrive as he gets accustomed to the next level.
Twins Secure Future Star in Nick Gordon
Few teams at the top of the first round are able to draft a young position player who is a sure bet to become an impact player in both the field and at the plate sooner rather than later.
The Minnesota Twins are now one of those teams after grabbing Nick Gordon with the fifth overall selection, per MLB:
Gordon has made waves at Olympia High School (Orlando, Fla.) and in prep baseball, paving the way to being named the Gatorade Florida Baseball Player of the Year. His family bloodlines represent his ability even further, as he's the son of former MLB standout Tom "Flash" Gordon and the brother of current Dodgers player Dee Gordon.
Most importantly, he believes in the Twins righting the ship after a woeful couple of seasons, per the St. Paul Pioneer Press' Mike Berardino:
Nick Gordon believes #mntwins are "drastically turning things around."— Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) June 6, 2014
Gordon has the ideal blend of hitting and athleticism to make a big impact at the next level. He can drive the ball virtually anywhere on the field as a lefty at the plate, and a strong arm with athletic tendencies makes him the perfect shortstop.
Plus, did I mention he can pitch? Gordon has hit 94 mph on the mound when he has been given the chance, so if all else fails, he can try his hand in the bullpen.
But there's no doubting that the Twins drafted Gordon for his fielding and hitting skills, and it won't be long before he's given the chance to show them off in the majors.