It’s sometimes hard to believe Archie Bradley is barely 24 years old.
The Arizona Diamondbacks‘ prized first-round pick (seventh overall) in 2011 has experienced quite a bit over the last five years.
The former Oklahoma high school two-sport star has both dazzled and disappointed on the mound. He signed with the D-backs just minutes before the deadline in August of 2011. After working his way through the minors he made the 2015 opening day roster. Not even a month into his big league career the decorated prospect was hit in the face by a wicked line drive off the bat of Carlos Gonzalez knocking him unconscious and landing him on the disabled list.
The rollercoaster has continued this summer. He’s been brilliant at times, hampered by high pitch counts, home runs and mental mistakes in others.
So is the sample size on Bradley, 6-9 with a 5.10 ERA in 2016, large enough to conclude the 6-foot-4, 230-pounder is pretty much a what-you-see-is-what-you-have pitcher moving forward?
“There has to be a higher ceiling,” ESPN baseball insider Pedro Gomez told Sports360AZ.com during his weekly interview earlier this week. “There’s no doubt about it because guys that were taken in the first 10 or 15 picks in the first round tend to have a really high ceiling.”
Gomez warns there have plenty of flameouts who never came close to reaching their projected status but with the big money contracts for these elite prospects comes high expectations.
He believes Arizona is going to be more patient with his development considering other high draft pick pitchers like Max Scherzer and Trevor Bauer were dealt away far too early.
The D-backs may be more apt to follow the Royals blueprint of developing talent. Kansas City stockpiled their system with prospects and patiently waited as Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and others adapted to the big leagues.
“You’ve got to trust that you picked the right guy,” Gomez said of Bradley. “I think Archie Bradley is going to get more time to try to prove himself.”
Bradley, who has lost four of his last six starts, will next take the ball Thursday night against the Dodgers at Chase Field.