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Arizona Diamondbacks RHP Prospect Archie Bradley a Star in the Making: A Fan’s Projection
When you grow up in Oklahoma, there are few things more highly regarded than Oklahoma Sooners football, and when you're offered a scholarship to play quarterback for the Sooners, you know you're something special. To pass on that opportunity means you've either got a screw loose, or you've got an incredible offer to do something else.
For Archie Bradley, that meant forsaking Sooners football in favor of a shot at becoming a top-of-the-rotation big league pitcher. Last year, the 6-foot-4-inch 225-pound right-hander was drafted seventh overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks. The kid is an athlete who appears to be primed to climb quickly through the D-backs minor league system.
Bradley throws hard; at age 18, his fastball was clocked at 96 mph. Since moving into the Diamondbacks' developmental league, the top end of his fastball is now even higher. He also throws a big curve ball that shows signs of being a nasty out pitch for the big righty. His weakest pitch is his changeup, but he's got good control and good command of all three pitches.
The big righty is just out of high school where his plus-fastball and good curve were all he needed to dominate. But two pitches (even if they're two very good pitches) aren't enough at the big league level. That's why Bradley's allegedly been working hard to develop a good changeup. Beat writers for the Arizona Diamondbacks reported last year that Bradley completely stopped throwing his curve in favor of working on a changeup. Scouting reports show there's still work to be done on his off speed stuff, but it is encouraging nonetheless.
The 2012 Projection:
Bradley will eventually become a big league starter who should be near the top of your fantasy baseball list of pitchers on draft day. He's definitely at No. 1 starter in the making, but expect to wait at least another year, more likely two. The 19-year-old spent time last year with a developmental league, but when you get down to it he's only technically pitched two innings of minor league ball (Pioneer League - Missoula Osprey - 2 IP - 1 H - 4Ks - 0 BB - 0.00 ERA - 0.50 WHIP).
I'd look for Bradley sometime in 2014, and when he gets the call all indications are he'll be worth a speculative fantasy add from the waiver wire.
Few people enjoy fantasy baseball as much as Kent Lister. While the pros are doing calisthenics and playing long toss, he's scouring the latest ADP lists and working through yet another mock draft. Follow him on twitter @listerkent for a complete rundown of all his 2012 projections.
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