Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
The Arizona Diamondbacks have been the most active team on the trade front this offseason, tapping into their wealth of young talent to acquire major league assets.
However, the one player who has been deemed untouchable since the start of the offseason is Archie Bradley. The Diamondbacks desire to hold onto Bradley is understandable considering that he’s baseball’s No. 1 pitching prospect.
Moved up to High-A Visalia for the 2013 season, Bradley dominated in the hitter-friendly California League over five starts, posting a 1.26 ERA and a 43-10 ratio of strikeouts to walks in 28.2 innings.
As a result, the 20-year-old received an early-season promotion to Double-A Mobile, where he was even more impressive. Making 21 starts at the more advanced level, Bradley registered a 1.97 ERA, .214 opponents’ batting average and 119-59 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 123.1 innings.
Bradley has the deadliest two-pitch combination among minor league pitchers with a heavy fastball in the mid- to upper-90s that has late life, and a power curveball with 12-to-6 shape and a sharp downer bite. Even though both pitches already grade as plus offerings, they each have the potential to improve, along with his overall command.
The right-hander’s feel for a changeup noticeably lags behind that of his two other offerings, but it flashes above-average potential and should serve as a third weapon at maturity.
Bradley’s pure stuff is ridiculously powerful and arguably the best in the minor leagues. However, despite the overwhelming success this season, the right-hander is still learning how to harness it. He has the athleticism and aptitude to make adjustments along the way, which only strengthens his projection as a future No. 1 starter.
If the Diamondbacks were to make Bradley available this offseason, they might be able to offer the most flattering trade package for David Price or another front-line starting pitcher.