SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – It’s easy to spot Archie Bradley. He’s 6-foot-4 and 235-pounds.
He’s also draws a crowd, as he did Saturday morning as he stepped up on the pitcher’s mound to throw his first live batting practice of Arizona Diamondbacks spring training.
“(People) should be excited because he’s the top prospect. Everybody can see why he’s the top prospect. He’s got electric stuff,” manager Kirk Gibson said. “At some point in his career you look at him as a dominant No. 1 or No. 2 guy. To watch a guy with that type of ability is always fun.”
Fun to watch, yes. But fun to face? Maybe not so much.
“He threw me three pitches and I was out of there,” Cody Ross said inside the Diamondbacks clubhouse at Salt River Fields. “His stuff was coming out really good. He has really late life on his fastball, which is a great thing. His curveball bites really well. He’s got all the tools.”
The right-handed throwing Bradley comes at hitters with a fastball that sits in the mid 90s and a curveball that breaks in a downward motion in a straight line.
“It’s still very early in spring, but it felt good to get out there; throw to some hitters, have a game-like atmosphere—really get to throw your pitches, see where you are at so far in the spring,” he said.
The session lasted 35 pitches.
For Bradley, who went a combined 14-5 with a 1.84 ERA last season in Single-A Visalia and Double-A Mobile, it was yet another learning experience.
“The first guy I faced today was (Mark) Trumbo. I’ve watched him hit home runs for three or four years now,” he said. “I’m still a little kid and a baseball fan. I step in and I see Mark Trumbo and just get excited, get nervous; everything that I love about this game (rolled) into one. It’s fun to compete and see where your stuff is.”
The Diamondbacks have been impressed with Bradley ever since selecting him seventh overall in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of Broken Arrow High School in Oklahoma.
Still only 21, he’s been invited to his first big league camp with an opportunity to compete for one of the five spots in the starting rotation.
“Everything points towards he’s going to be pretty good for us,” Gibson said. “But at what point and at what time, that’s to be determined.”