The Arizona Diamonbacks are stocking up on power arms of late and one of their top prospects is RHP Archie Bradley. The 7th overall pick of the 2011 First Year Player Draft, Bradley signed out of high school in Broken Arrow, OK and had a very brief (2 IP) stop in the Pioneer league that year. In 2012, Bradley pitched a full season in loA South Bend, posting impressive numbers despite being just 19 years old. Over 136 IP, Bradley struck out 152 (10.1 K/9) and led the league in opponents batting average (.181).
The 27 starts in the Pioneer League represented a big jump in the workload that Bradley was used to while playing high school baseball in Oklahoma. This spring, he has prepared himself for another full season with the knowlege that he had success last year while throwing so many more innings. Bradley begins 2013 at hiA Visalia of the California League and will start his first game there on Friday night.
At 6-4, 225, the big righty touches 98 with his fastball and also has a plus curveball. The changeup is a weapon that he’s working on which could make him even tougher to face than he already is at such a young age.
HotStoveHeat.com talked to Bradley at the Visalia Rawhide’s media day on Tuesday:
HOW HAVE THINGS GONE FOR YOU THIS SPRING, ARE YOU READY FOR THE SEASON?
It’s been really good. It was long, with the World Baseball Classic we had another week in Spring Training so that was a little different compared to last year. But I felt like I went into Spring Training with a much better idea of how to approach it and how to get my body and arm ready and I feel like I did a really good job of that. I accomplished what I wanted to and I’m ready to go for the season.
HOW MUCH OF AN ADJUSTMENT WAS IT TO PITCH A FULL SEASON LAST YEAR (27 GAMES)? THAT’S GOT TO BE DIFFERENT THAN WHAT YOU WERE USED TO IN HIGH SCHOOL.
It was really different. Compared to the 13 starts I made in high school, and only throwing 70 innings (in high school) compared to 136 last year. But I handled it well. I was really pleased with the way I handled it and the way I was able to come out ready every fifth day the way you’re supposed to. Hopefully, I’ll be able to throw quite a few more this year.
HOW IS THE PROGRESS ON THE CHANGEUP? YOU’VE BEEN WORKING ON THAT THIS SPRING, HAVEN’T YOU?
Yes. I’ve been working on it for two years now. In high school I didn’t have to throw it very much. But it is something I’ve really put a big emphasis on and I’ve really been priding myself on throwing it and throwing it well and getting command of it.
YOUR WALK RATE WAS A LITTLE HIGH, WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO TRY TO BRING THAT DOWN?
I really haven’t struggled with it at all in the spring. I feel like last year was just one of those bumps you hit in a career. I started walking guys and it became a mental thing, but I’m really not worried about it. It is one of those things that I feel like I’m past it, I feel like I corrected it and it won’t be a problem.
YOU’VE GOT A PRETTY HIGH LEG KICK AND BASEBALL AMERICA MENTIONS THAT THEY THINK THAT THROWS OFF YOUR MECHANICS? IS THAT SOMETHING YOU’RE WORKING ON AS WELL?
Well, a little bit. We’ve made some minor adjustments probably since the last time they saw me throw. I’ve tightened things up a little bit. I still have a big leg kick but it is more controlled. Hands are closer to the body, things like that. So I don’t feel like it affects me at all anymore.
THE LEG KICK HELPS YOU GENERATE THE POWER, THOUGH, DOESN’T IT?
DID YOUR COACHES IN HIGH SCHOOL HAVE ANY CONCERN WITH IT AT THE TIME?
No, not really, and neither do the Diamondbacks. Like I said, we’ve made some minor adjustments just to be more consistent with it but for the most part they (the Diamondbacks) have let me stay the same and I think I’ve got things figured out.
DO YOU HAVE ANY BENCHMARKS OR TIMETABLE FOR THIS SEASON AS FAR AS THE NUMBERS YOU EXPECT TO PUT UP OR GETTING PROMOTED TO ANY CERTAIN LEVEL?
No, not really. I think when you do things like that then you start focusing on things that don’t matter. You take your focus away from the field. I’m just trying to focus on day-to-day. What can I do today to make me better to get ready for my next outing? I think if I do that, everything will take care of itself.
Photo: Steve Cummings/HotStoveHeat.com. Thanks to Archie Bradley and the Visalia Rawhide for the interview.