It’s no secret the Arizona Diamondbacks have pitching talent in their farm system.
And for the third consecutive time this season, ESPN insider Keith Law has confirmed as much.
Making yet another appearance on Law’s top-50 prospects list (paid subscription) are Arizona’s highly-touted, right-handers Archie Bradley (No. 9) and Braden Shipley and (No. 26).
For Bradley, the 2014 campaign has been filled with bumps in the road — including elbow soreness that sidelined him for parts of April and May. But the former No. 3 overall pick has pitched well in his return to the mound, allowing just five earned runs in his last 25.1 innings of work with Double-A Mobile.
On the season, the 21-year-old is a combined 2-4 with a 3.52 ERA in 11 appearances ranging from the Arizona League, Pacific Coast League and Southern League.
When fully healthy, he has two plus pitches, a fastball up to 98 mph and a grade-70 curveball. He needs to develop better command, mostly of the fastball, but that’s a tough thing to get a kid working on when his current goal is to not give up another home run to PCL opponents. I hope Arizona doesn’t rush him back to Triple-A, and that these struggles are just a blip rather than a sign that the elbow issue was more serious.
Like Bradley, Shipley has had mixed results so far this season. In 16 starts with Class-A South Bend and Class-A Advanced Visalia, the former Nevada standout has a 5-6 record with a 4.30 ERA and 54 strikeouts.
Despite his uneven campaign, Shipley made an appearance in the MLB Futures Game earlier this month, retiring both batters he faced in a rare relief stint.
Shipley’s curveball has come on quickly now that he’s allowed to throw it, which gives him two plus offspeed pitches alongside the always-good changeup. His fastball can be straight, 92-95 mph mostly, and he’ll have to work on keeping it down in the zone. He’s an outstanding athlete and converted position player, which gives me more optimism that he’ll be able to continue making adjustments, keep his fastball down and learn to mix all three pitches consistently.
Arizona was one of only three teams to have at least two pitching prospects on Law’s esteemed list — joining the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins.