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