Cactus League Games Just Wash Over Us at This Point: Mariners at Diamondbacks

marc w · March 13, 2014 at 12:30 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Blake Beavan vs. Archie Bradley, 1:10pm

Blake Beavan continues his competition with Randy Wolf for a shot at the M’s rotation, at least while Iwakuma and Walker are on the mend. Opposing him is the D-Backs #1 prospect, and certainly a top-10 prospect in all of baseball, Archie Bradley. Bradley was a first rounder in 2011, going 7th overall out of an Oklahoma high school. He was picked 4 spots after fellow Oklahoma HS-phenom, Dylan Bundy.

Bundy debuted in 2012, and Bradley threw all of 2 innings in the AZL after the draft. Bundy quickly became the darling of prospect evaluators, flashing mid-90s velo and either one or two plus offerings to pair with it. After utterly overwhelming A ball, he continued to have success in AA and eventually made a late-season MLB debut. Meanwhile, Bradley – with better physical size, but without Bundy’s polish – was scuffling a bit. He had great stuff and missed plenty of bats, but that’s not all he missed. He walked 87 and plunked another 16 in his 140 innings in the pitcher-friendly Midwest league, so not only was Bradely falling behind 2011 draftees like Bundy, Danny Hultzen, Gerrit Cole and Jose Fernandez, but he was getting outpitched by the surprises of 2010, like Noah Syndergaard our own Taijuan Walker. 2013 proved to be a much, much better season, as he was able to harness his raw stuff and mostly keep the ball in the strikezone.

He’s not a real ground-baller, but he’s been able to keep the ball in the park in large part *because* of his velo and pure stuff: it’s just really hard to pull the ball on him. That said, his ranking on prospect lists (and Tony Blengino just talked about him in his ranking of each MLB system today at Fangraphs) has much more to do with his elite stuff and projecting him a few years down the road. Think of him as the D-Backs Taijuan Walker, but *last* year – when Tai Walker was opening eyes, but didn’t seem to have a spot in the rotation. That said, Bradley’s been so good, and the other candidates for the 5th spot either injured or Bronson Arroyo, that he’s making a push to end camp on the big league team.*

1: Chavez, CF
2: Bloomquist, 3B
3: Cano, 2B
4: Smoak, DH
5: Morrison, 1B
6: Franklin, SS
7: Ackley, LF
8: Saunders, RF
9: Zunino, C
SP: Beavan

Some good news on some ailing pitchers. Taijuan Walker’s scheduled to throw a bullpen, but we won’t learn much about it as the media’s being barred from watching it. Stephen Pryor’s rehab has been good enough that the M’s are considering using him in ST games.
* Reminder #292 that the 2011 draft is going to be talked about for a long, long time. 2010 gets a lot of headlines, and it should, thanks to Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. But in a few years, we could be talking about Javier Baez and Francisco Lindor, and Cole/Fernandez/Sonny Gray and others will have been pitching in MLB for a while.


13 Responses to “Cactus League Games Just Wash Over Us at This Point: Mariners at Diamondbacks”

  1. MrZDevotee on March 13th, 2014 12:55 pm

    Okay, okay, I take it back… Sorry I said anything yesterday, I’ll take Abe Almonte as the leadoff hitter… Apologies to Skip McLendon.

  2. Westside guy on March 13th, 2014 1:04 pm

    Keep quiet, MrZ! Otherwise he’ll put Montero up there, just to spite us!

  3. MissouriMariner on March 13th, 2014 1:15 pm

    How has Franklin been doing at SS?

  4. Westside guy on March 13th, 2014 1:23 pm

    How has Franklin been doing at SS?

    Well, LL’s Scott Weber retweeted this on Twitter today…

    .@AdamRubinESPN This is the kind of play to expect from Nick Franklin at short:— Scott Weber (@LookoutLanding) March 13, 2014

  5. MrZDevotee on March 13th, 2014 1:34 pm

    Wow, judging by that video Nick Franklin has got his Willie Bloomquist impression down perfectly, Westy…

  6. MrZDevotee on March 13th, 2014 1:37 pm

    I think Spring Training should just go with the Tee Ball approach in the middle weeks… 3 innings max, and everyone hits each inning… No outs, and no keeping score.

    Then everyone get chips and juiceboxes, even the fans.

  7. Westside guy on March 13th, 2014 1:55 pm

    I like that idea, MrZ!

  8. Westside guy on March 13th, 2014 3:20 pm

    Funniest line of the spring, courtesy of MLB GameDay:

    Defensive Substitution: Jesus Montero replaces first baseman Logan Morrison.

  9. MrZDevotee on March 13th, 2014 4:20 pm

    See, Westy, the Tee Ball thing would totally work, they should just let Logan and Jesus BOTH man 1st base, between the two of them they might have the range of an average 1B (if they spread out)… And one can be the cutoff man between 3B/SS and 1B, for the infield relay…

    Then chips and juiceboxes!

  10. MrZDevotee on March 13th, 2014 4:23 pm

    PS- Whether spring training counts or not, it’s pretty obvious that Robinsion Cano knows how to play baseball… We need more guys who can go 2 for 4 and watch their batting average go down. I remember the days when a 1 for 3 day for Ichiro meant his batting average went down. I forgot how cool it was to have guys who can hit a baseball on the team.

  11. JasonJ on March 13th, 2014 4:25 pm

    Yep. The 2011 draft class could be really awesome. Of course, we got the guy who injured his shoulder (at pick #2) before ever seeing the majors but I’m really happy for all the other teams.

  12. LongDistance on March 14th, 2014 7:31 am

    My son’s wised up about Santa Claus. But every night he tells me, breathlessly, about (fill in the blank’s) current batting average.

    Sometimes, it’s just better not knowing things.

    Go M’s……….

  13. Westside guy on March 14th, 2014 11:14 am

    My son’s wised up about Santa Claus.

    Huh? What do you mean? Did something happen to Santa??

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