MLB

Houston Astros fight curse of high school lefty in MLB draft

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When the Houston Astros picked high school left-handed pitcher Brady Aiken No. 1 overall in the draft on Thursday, it brought back memories.

They are hoping they picked a pitcher who will end up like the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw, the best left-hander and best pitcher in the game.

"The tools are in place to get a front-line starter, a big left-hander in our rotation for a long time," Astros scouting director Mike Elias told MLB.com . "We think he can log innings, with the way he's thrown the ball and the way he's built."

But, as Luhnhow prepared to meet the media after the pick, Aiken gave him a call.

"[Astros manager] Bo [Porter] asked me if you're available tomorrow in Minneapolis," Luhnow joked.

That is where the memories of the last No. 1 overall lefty picked by a team from Texas came up. David Clyde was supposed to be everything the Astros hope Aiken will be, and more, when the Texas Rangers selected him No. 1 overall as an 18-year-old from Houston in 1973.

The Rangers and owner Bob Short decided to have Clyde make two major league starts after agreeing to his $65,000 signing bonus in June 1973. He was credited with two wins, drawing a season-high of more than 35,000 fans.

''I'd have to say that David Clyde was one of the best young left-handed pitchers I've ever seen,'' Rangers manager Whitey Herzog, who was fired during the 1973 season, told the New York Times. ''He was really mishandled. He was wild and the other hitters started sitting on his fastball. He never had the advantage of going to the minors and pitching against kids his own age. And he was really a good kid himself. It was a tragedy.'

He wasn't sent down to the minors until 1975 and then, starting the next year, he began having arm injury issues that turned into rotator cuff issues that ultimately ended his career.

The only other left-handed high school pitcher to be picked No. 1 overall in the draft was Yankees starter Brien Taylor, who left baseball with an even uglier fate.

Taylor, a 6-foot-3 pitcher selected first in the 1991 draft, once roomed with Derek Jeter in spring training but never reached the majors.

"I've seen the talent now in 35 drafts," advisor Scott Boras told ESPNNewYork recently. "Every year, I watch and I have never seen someone like him."

The problem was that, one night, he went to help his brother in a fight and hurt his arm.

"I take him to Dr. Frank Jobe. He looks at me. 'This is the worst rotator cuff tear I've ever seen," Boras told ESPNNewYork.com "It is completely off the bone.' So he had to have that surgery."

He never fully returned and, in 2012, he was sentenced up to 38 months in prison for distribution of crack cocaine.

That No. 1 overall position, as it goes for high school left-handers, is cursed. Being the top pick is a ton of pressure for any high schooler, and plenty have flamed out. The Astros hope that doesn't happen again.

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Topics:
Texas Rangers
Houston Astros
MLB

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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