Every Friday I will be taking an in-depth look at a prospect who is in the lower levels of the minors who may not be high on prospect radars right now, but should be tracked in dynasty league formats. Last week I took a look at Rangers' prospect Cody Buckel, and up today is Diamondbacks' right handed pitching prospect Archie Bradley.
Weight: 225 lbs
Age at End of 2012 Season: 20
On the 40 Man Roster: No
Bradley was drafted by the Diamondbacks with the 7th overall selection last year. Drafted out of Broken Arrow High School in Oklahoma, Bradley was a bit of a risky pick at #7 initially, as the pick had been compensation for failing to sign 2010 top draft pick Barret Loux. The team would have lost the pick without compensation if they failed to sign Bradley, but were able to ink him to a minor league contract, along with a $5 million bonus. Despite signing right before the deadline, Bradley was able to get into 2 games for the D'backs rookie league affiliate in Missoula, Montana, striking out 4 in 2 innings of work.
What Does He Bring to The Game?
Bradley is the poster child for a high-ceiling pitching prospect. He has an ideal frame, a simple delivery, and makes his mid-90s heat look easy while touching 98-99 mph. He gets heavy spin on a plus power breaking ball and has above-average control.
From Marc Hulet of Fangraphs:
The right-handed Bradley has a devastating one-two punch with a mid-90s fastball and potentially-plus curveball. The development of a changeup will be important to his future. Like a lot of young pitchers he occasionally loses command of his offerings and will likely move methodically through the minor league system.
Gotta love projectable pitching prospects, and Bradley sounds as projectable as they come. His delivery looks very easy, and obviously you like seeing both plus velocity and excellent offspeed offerings in such a young player. It will be interesting to watch if he can start to really show great results to go along with that projectability. Bradley already has been near the top of many prospect lists, and could very well be at the top of the lists by the end of the season.
Where Will He Be This Year?
A bit of a surprise, but Bradley was given a full season assignment and sent to Low-A South Bend. That said, he's already made two starts there, posting 14 strikeouts against 4 walks in 11 innings thus far.
What Could His Path to the Majors Be?
At the start of Spring Training, I thought they would start Bradley out in extended spring training for the year, and then send him later on to a rookie short season league. However, they clearly saw something during the spring, enough to send him to Low-A. Tthey were right thus far, as Bradley has pitched excellently in his two starts. I could actually see the team sending him to High-A before the end of the season. The Diamondbacks have shown a willingness to move prospects quickly if they perform well (see Tyler Skaggs), and I think he could be in Phoenix by the 2014 season.
What Could He Do Once He Arrives?
Bradley appears to have #1 starter potential, both for the Diamondbacks and for fantasy owners. It could be a couple of years before he reaches that status, but there's a TON to like here. The scouting reports thus far have been excellent, and he looks like he could provide fantasy owners with a high strikeout total, low ratios, and a ton of value overall.
I am a huge fan of Bradley's long term outlook as a Major League pitcher, and I ranked Bradley as my 11th pitching prospect during the offseason. Looking back at the rankings, he may actually be a bit too low, as I might rank him ahead of Pomeranz and Turner both right now. I think it will be extremely unlikely that he isn't in at least High-A before the end of the season, and could very well be a top 10 overall prospect by then.
Baseball Prospectus (Arizona Diamondbacks Top 11)
Fangraphs (Arizona Diamondbacks Top 15)
Baseball Reference (Archie Bradley)