Becoming the first team to make the first overall pick a third consecutive year, the Houston Astros chose left-hander Brady Aiken to open the baseball draft Thursday.
Aiken, from Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego, is a 6-foot-4, 205-pounder who is committed to UCLA.
Considered advanced relative to the command of his three-pitch repertoire given his age, 17, Aiken features a fastball that touches 94 mph in addition to an exceptional breaking ball and changeup. He drew comparisons to both Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw and Phillies lefty Cole Hamels.
Aiken told MLB Network he models his game after Tampa Bay Rays left-hander David Price.
Waiting to hear about his draft position at home in San Diego, Aiken learned he was the top pick while watching the draft on television.
"It was a crazy moment," he told MLB Network. "It's been a fun experience. The whole thing is crazy.
"I'm just ready to move forward and see what the Astros have in store for me in the future. It really is an honor being drafted by the Astros, it means a lot. ...
"I had the goal to be the best player in the country. It was a lot of hard work in the offseason and during the spring season."
With the No. 1 overall pick in each of the previous two drafts, the Astros selected Stanford right-hander Mark Appel in 2013 and Puerto Rican high school shortstop Carlos Correa in 2012. Both are playing for high Class A Lancaster (Calif.) this season.
Houston's previous No. 1 overall selections, left-hander Floyd Bannister in 1976 and third baseman Phil Nevin in 1992, each made one All-Star Game.
The only other high school left-handers chosen No. 1 overall were David Clyde by the Texas Rangers in 1973 and Brien Taylor by the New York Yankees in 1991. Clyde had a mediocre career. Taylor got injured and never made the majors.
With the second pick, the Miami Marlins selected right-hander Tyler Kolek from Shepherd (Texas) High School. He throws a fastball that regularly hits the upper 90s and has touched 102 mph. In 60 1/3 innings this season, Kolek struck out 126, walked eight and posted a 0.35 ERA.
The Chicago White Sox picked North Carolina State left-hander Carlos Rodon third overall. He was taken in the 16th round of the 2011 draft by the Brewers, but he passed on signing with Milwaukee to play for the Wolfpack. Last year, he helped lead N.C. State to the College World Series for the first time since 1968, and he led the nation in strikeouts.
Kyle Schwarber of Indiana University, a catcher/outfielder, was selected fourth overall by the Chicago Cubs. In 56 starts this season, he hit .351 with 13 homers and 46 RBIs. The 6-foot, 240-pound junior from Middletown, Ohio, also earned second-team all-state linebacker honors in high school.
Many draft experts expected Schwarber to be selected in the middle of the first round.
The Minnesota Twins dipped into a baseball family with the fifth overall pick, taking shortstop Nick Gordon of Olympia High School in Orlando, Fla. Gordon is the son of former major league reliever Tom "Flash" Gordon and the brother of current Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon.
Commissioner Bud Selig opened the draft by paying tribute to the memory of Don Zimmer, the baseball lifer who died Wednesday at 83.