I am really hoping that NC State left-hander Carlos Rodon is the first pick in the coming amateur baseball draft. It kind of seems that all of the expert prognosticators have penciled my favorite college pitcher into that spot since his first season in Raleigh. However, this season was probably not what Rodon had in mind for building momentum heading into the draft. While some of Rodon's numbers can be squarely placed on the fact that NC State, coming off an appearance in the College World Series, completely underachieved. Especially offensively where Rodon was burdened with poor run support all season.
So what happens if the Astros do not select Rodon first overall? First, Rodon is likely going to slide to the third pick which is held by the White Sox. I am not sure why everyone has the Marlins skipping over Rodon, but I am going to assume that maybe they know something more about the Marlins than what I do, which is not much (Go Marcell!). Second, the Astros will likely take Brady Aiken first overall.
While Aiken is a native of San Diego and is currently pitching for Cathedral High School, he also appeared on the USA Baseball U18 team last summer locally here in Raleigh. Aiken is an easy throwing lefty who's a pretty hard thrower for a high school kid. Last summer as a 16 year old he was in the low 90s. I have seen several reports that have him now throwing closer to the mid 90s. Aiken's talent was easily visible on the field as he helped the team win the under 18 Baseball World Cup last summer.
Since Aiken appeared in the World Cup event for USA Baseball, the good people over at Panini managed to make a few cards of the talented high school left hander.
While Aiken has several Panini cards, and a few Leaf cards from the Perfect Game High School All-Star game, they can be hit or miss on price for a player who is likely a top draft pick. This card cost me just under thirty dollars, minus a few Ebay bucks right at $20, while other cards of the San Diego native. I am sure that the rush on Aiken cards while grow as the draft gets closer, and depending on his landing spot, might get slightly crazy.
Rodon has had autographs out on the market for two years and they routinely were selling for close to $100 until this year. They are now selling for $50 or less. I would imagine that a tumble in the draft could send his cards even lower in value. I am not saying it's deserved, but that's the way it will work. In my opinion Aiken is still undervalued and a great deal for collectors at this time. The fact that you can find his cards under $50 should prompt collectors to jump on Aiken cards before they are all over $100 in a month.