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Brady Aiken Joins Jacob Nix At IMG Academy

Brady Aiken, the unsigned No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 draft, will try to pitch his way back to the top of the 2015 draft as a member of IMG Academy’s postgraduate baseball team.

The Bradenton, Fla., school announced that Aiken has enrolled. The graduate of San Diego’s Cathedral Catholic High will pitch for IMG’s post-grad team along with Jacob Nix. The two remain inextricably linked, from playing together with USA Baseball’s 2013 18U national team (Aiken won the gold-medal game) to both being drafted by the Astros last year.

However, as has been widely reported, Aiken and the Astros failed to agree on a contract after previously agreeing to terms on a $6.5 million bonus. The Astros were uncomfortable with the results of Aiken’s physical and withdrew the $6.5 million offer, and could never come to terms with Aiken or his representatives, Casey Close and Excel Sports Management. Houston’s fifth-round pick Nix, also an Excel client, then did not receive the $1.5 million signing bonus he and the Astros had agreed upon, because it would have sent the Astros over their bonus pool and cost them a first-round pick in 2015.

As a result, Nix filed a grievance against the Astros, which was ended with a cash settlement, and now both he and Aiken will pitch for IMG. Meanwhile, the Astros received a compensatory pick for not signing Aiken and will select second and fifth in this year’s draft in June.

"We're excited for Brady (Aiken) to join us at IMG Academy," said IMG Academy's Director of Baseball, Dan Simonds, who was previously the head coach at Xavier and Miami (Ohio). "At IMG, he will have access to everything from world-class coaches and performance experts to top-notch facilities and the latest technology."

The IMG post-grad team competes against area junior-college teams as well as Division II teams, including a game scheduled tomorrow against D-II superpower Tampa. IMG also plays six games later in May against Elev8 Academy, a similar post-grad school coached by ex-big leaguer Luis Alicea.

Through the past three MLB Drafts, 10 IMG Academy student-athletes and alumni have been selected. Draftees include Alfredo Escalera (Kansas City Royals, eighth round, 2012), the youngest player ever selected, and  Yankees catcher John Ryan Murphy (class of 2009).

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