Prospect Archie Bradley optimistic despite early AFL struggles


Photo Credit: USATODAY Sports

Photo Credit: USATODAY Sports

There was talk in 2014 about when the Arizona Diamondbacks would call up their top pitching prospect Archie Bradley from the minor leagues.

Even though Arizona ended the season with the league’s worst record and used 11 different starting pitchers over the course of the season, they never brought up Bradley. Even though it was widely speculated that he was ready for the big leagues, he didn’t see any big league batters in 2014.

Those 11 pitchers left a lot of room for improvement in the coming season, combining to go 41-69 with a collective 4.44 ERA in 2014. Of course, it did seem odd that Bradley wasn’t called up even to get some experience in September.

The answer to the question might be being seen this month as the Arizona Fall League has been underway for almost two weeks now.

Bradley, who split time in during the regular season between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno, made 18 starts and posted a relatively respectable 4.45 ERA.

So far in three starts for the Salt River Rafters Bradley’s ERA is a whopping 10.29. He’s allowed six walks in just seven innings of work which is to say he’s been a little on the wild side with his pitch control.

After his Saturday start against the Mesa Solar Sox, Bradley, according to MLB.com’s Joey Nowak, admitted to being wild during his team’s 8-4 loss.

“I felt good. Just didn’t throw strikes, that’s really about it. I feel like my stuff is sharp. It’s just about filling up the zone and making better pitches.”

He isn’t fazed by his statistics so far in the AFL. He’s chalking it up to experience and a chance at growth.

“Obviously, this is a big experience. Bradley saidThere’s a lot of good talent in this league. It’s just another key to getting better.”

Bradley maintained that he’s been working on his change-up and that he threw his slider for the first time on Saturday. Bradley seems to be the type that always embraces a challenge.

He is sure that if he can get both of those pitches into his repetoire and working, that he’ll be more than ready to make the Diamondbacks’ Opening Day roster. When talking about all the talent and challenges of the AFL Bradley said,

“It’s kind of what you’re going to get when you get to the big leagues. One through nine, you’re facing quality hitters who give you quality at-bats and challenge you. You’re constantly thinking and constantly being challenged because every player you face has the potential to get to the big leagues and most likely will.”

Still, with a 10.29 ERA there are questions beginning to surround Bradley and his issues with control. It’s been noted that he may need some more time in the minors before getting to start in April 2015.

However, it may be premature to make assumptions about events that are still six months away, and while there are still approximately three weeks left of play in the AFL.

Bradley is optimistic and determined so don’t count him out for April 2015 just yet.