Matt York/Associated Press
Archie Bradley: 8.1 IP, 8 H, 4.32 ERA, 6 BB, 10 K
Randall Delgado: 11.1 IP, 14 H, 5.56 ERA, 3 HR, BB, 7 K
This competition could turn out to be moot if Bronson Arroyo has to start the season on the disabled list with back problems. Combine Arroyo's issues with Patrick Corbin likely headed for Tommy John surgery, and suddenly the Arizona Diamondbacks rotation is in dire straits.
There is some good news, though, as the Diamondbacks have depth in the starting rotation, with Wade Miley, Trevor Cahill and Brandon McCarthy locks to be on the Opening Day roster. That leaves two spots open for Kirk Gibson to fill.
Randall Delgado will likely get the first crack at the No. 4 job even though last season showed his limitations in that regard (116 hits, 24 homers allowed in 116.1 innings).
Steve Gilbert of MLB.com wrote about Delgado as a potential starter for Arizona in 2014 and why the team is enamored with him as a reliever instead:
With a good fastball and outstanding changeup, Delgado would not need to rely on the inconsistent changeup out of the bullpen. In addition he would likely gain some velocity with his fastball, if he only has to throw it in short one- or two-inning relief stints.
(For the record, I believe Gilbert meant to write that Delgado has an inconsistent breaking ball, not changeup.)
Since the Diamondbacks use Josh Collmenter as a long reliever, the team could try him as an emergency fifth starter until Arroyo returns (assuming he goes on the DL or doesn't pitch until April 10).
Having Delgado take Collmenter's spot maximizes what he's capable of and gives Gibson another arm to use in high-leverage situations.
Bradley, meanwhile, has the stuff and upside to be an impact pitcher. He's the top-ranked pitching prospect in baseball, according to MLB.com, and he has shown flashes of that brilliance occasionally this spring.
Unfortunately, Bradley's last outing was his worst, when he gave up four runs on five hits with two walks and one strikeout in two innings against the Seattle Mariners. He's also learning to throw his changeup against advanced hitters and hasn't pitched above Double-A.
The Diamondbacks have something special with Bradley, who is just 21 years old, and he's good enough to hold his own against MLB hitters for the time being while working on the changeup and developing better fastball command.
It would be in Arizona's best interest to start Bradley in the majors, see if he can handle it, then make a decision when the time comes. If he sticks, the Diamondbacks have the impact arm to make up for Corbin's loss and stay with the Dodgers in the NL West.
Prediction: Randall Delgado