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ESPN includes Archie Bradley on ‘All-Surprise Team’

Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Archie Bradley throws during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Sunday, June 18, 2017, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Archie Bradley has turned into a lights-out reliever, and ESPN senior writer David Schoenfield recognized the right-hander for his efforts.

Schoenfield released his “MLB’s 2017 All-Surprise Team” Tuesday. The list included one player at each position, and the 25-year-old Bradley cracked the list.

 The D-backs did move Bradley to the bullpen after he posted a 5.02 ERA as a starter in 2016. And in 2017, he has been one of the keys to Arizona’s wild-card push while posting a 1.33 ERA. You’re always reluctant to move an arm like Bradley’s to the bullpen until you’re absolutely sure he can’t start, and given that he has made just 34 starts in the majors, there’s always the chance he could be tried in the rotation again in 2018.

Bradley said multiple times in spring training he was open to being a reliever, if it meant pitching in the big leagues. But, Bradley likely cracked Schoenfield’s list because he had no prior experience in the bullpen.

Not only did Bradley transition into his new role smoothly – he has thrived in it.

In fact, the Muskogee, Oklahoma native has turned into one of baseball’s best late-inning relief pitchers. Among National League relievers, Bradley ranks third in ERA (1.33), sixth in WHIP (0.93) and seventh in strikeout-to-walk-ratio (5.36), entering play on Thursday.

Bradley is in the middle of a nine-game scoreless innings streak (9.0 IP), and has not allowed a home run in 29 consecutive games and only one ball has left the yard in his last 39.

In addition, Bradley was nearly unhittable in the first half. He set a club record with a 1.10 ERA in 33 appearances (41.0 IP). In the second half, Bradley is 0-1 with 2.08 ERA in 12 games (13.0 IP).

Trying to hold onto a wild card spot, the Diamondbacks will surely count on Bradley to put up more zeros.

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