Archie Bradley, Starting Pitcher, Arizona Diamondbacks
2013 season (minors): 21 G, 123.1 IP, 1.97 ERA, 1.232 WHIP, 12 W, 119 SO, 59 BB
The Diamondbacks had planned to take their time with the seventh overall pick in the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft. But after a dominant season at Double-A and a season-ending injury to last year’s breakout pitcher, Patrick Corbin, Archie Bradley may arrive sooner than expected.
Deemed as a can’t-miss, the right-hander has had success so far at each level he’s pitched. He he got his start two years ago as a 19-year-old for Single-A South Bend, where he went 12-6 with a 3.84 ERA, 1.257 WHIP and 152 strikeouts in 136 innings. Bradley began last season in High-A, allowing only four earned runs in 28.2 innings. He was quickly bumped up to Double-A for the rest of the season and continued to pitch lights-out; he won 12 games with a .210 batting average against and 8.68 K/9.
Entering this season as MLB.com’s top pitching prospect, and still just 21 years old, Bradley got an invite to Diamondbacks’ spring training. But he was still expected to spend much, if not all of 2014 in Triple-A. Then Corbin’s season ended before it started with an elbow injury and Tommy John surgery.
All eyes turned to Bradley, who suddenly has a legitimate chance to make the roster. He has been put in a battle with fellow youngster 24-year-old Randall Delgado. With spring training winding down, no decision has been made between the two. Bradley has had a better spring overall, but has struggled of late. So the competition should come down to the wire.
While Bradley has a higher ceiling than Delgado, it wouldn’t be surprising if the D-Backs put their future ace in down in Triple-A to get a little more experience. The tall (6-foot-4) righty features, as most young arms thought to be future stars do, a blazing fastball that sits in the mid-90s and can touch 97-98 mph. His secondary pitch is a tight curveball that comes in in the low-80s. Bradley is mostly a two-pitch pitcher at the moment, but he’s working on a changeup as well and could always develop some new weapons.
Fans likely wouldn’t see the best that Bradley could be if he wins the fifth starter job. If he starts the year down in Triple-A, it’s likely he’ll be up with the D-Backs at some point this season. In that case, he would probably impress right out of the gate.
Next up: Andrew Cashner, San Diego Padres