The Diamondbacks have traded away some of their top pitching prospects over the years. Trevor Bauer, Jarrod Parker, Tyler Skaggs and David Holmberg to name a few over the last couple of seasons.
However, the one they have held onto has ultimately become more heralded than all of those players. 21 year-old Archie Bradley is coming of an incredible 2013 season which he spent most of in Double-A Mobile and is eyeing his first trip to the Major Leagues this season.
There continues to be talk to whether or not he will begin the season in the Majors but after the Diamondbacks made it official on Wednesday that they signed free agent veteran starter Bronson Arroyo, the writing on the wall is that Bradley could be left out of the rotation to begin the 2014 campaign.
“I know that Bronson makes this ball club better and that’s really all that matters,” Bradley said. “So for me, I am really just trying to come in and work everyday. Whether it’s day one with this ball club or somewhere down the road, I just wanted to be given the chance at some point to help this team win.”
That has a different tone than you would hear from most elite prospects trying to break into the majors. There is no demands or statements saying he expects to be brought up immediately. Players at Bradley’s level might have it made up in their heads that it will be the case and anything less would be a disappointment.
“Not at all,” Bradley explained. “I am very young. 21 years-old. This is my first big league camp. A lot can happen between now and the beginning of the season but my whole thing is to prepare everyday and be ready for when it does happen.”
There is a lot of pressure that could fall on the shoulders of a player like Bradley. Especially being invited to be a part of the big league camp as a non-roster invitee plus dealing with the nerves that come with breaking into unfamiliar territory.
But Bradley is keeping it even-keel.
“Just be myself,” Bradley mentioned. “That’s something I’ve tried to do since I was first drafted by the Diamondbacks. So just be myself and try to be quiet. Listen to the guys who have been here a while and listen to the guys who have spent years in the big leagues and have a lot of service time. Just trying to listen and learn from them.”
It can be hard for a young player to step into a big league club house with a fare share of veterans on it and make their mark. Bradley from day one has connected with one veteran player in particular.
“Everyone’s been nice,” he stated. “But if I had to pick one person, I would say Brad Ziegler. He kind of talked to me from day one when I got here early. Gave me some advice on things to do and what not to do, how to act and just pick up from what he says and what other guys say.”
Which five that make the starting rotation will be a hot topic throughout the Diamondbacks 2014 spring training and what the team decides to do with their top prospect will be at the forefront.