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Diamondbacks fifth starter: prospect Archie Bradley

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Archie Bradley
Archie Bradley
Brendon Thorne, Getty Images

The trade of starting pitcher Trevor Cahill to the Atlanta Braves opens up the fifth spot in the Arizona Diamondbacks rotation. The beneficiary is rookie right-hander Archie Bradley, named to the rotation yesterday by the Arizona front office.

Bradley pitched 22 innings for Arizona in spring training this year, posting a 1.61 ERA with a 14/6 K/BB ratio. His command was notably improved this month, particularly compared to 2014 when he walked 49 in 83 innings at three minor league levels.

Here is the pre-spring training comment on Bradley from the 2015 Baseball Prospect Book:

No doubt about it: 2014 was not a good year for Archie Bradley. He hurt his elbow early in the season and while the injury was minor and did not require surgery, he never got things back in gear upon returning.  His fastball was down a tick, 91-94 instead of 93-98. His curveball went from devastating to merely decent. He did make some progress refining his straight change-up and adding a new cutter/slider, but his overall command (which wasn’t perfect to begin with) took a step backwards. The injury was obviously a factor here, but even after the pain subsided he didn’t look right, struggling to keep his mechanics in line and often overthrowing, perhaps a subconscious attempt to make up for lost time. Bradley remains a premium pitching prospect, but there’s more doubt now. Grade B+

He appears fully healthy this year, has his stuff back to past standards, and is obviously doing a better job throwing strikes. We'll have to see if he can maintain it once the regular season begins, but his upside is enormous. With steady command and good health he could develop into a genuine ace.