Bradley, Pollock represent D-backs in top 100 of ESPN’s MLBRank
For different reasons, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Archie Bradley and A.J. Pollock didn’t appear on ESPN’s 2017 MLBRank list of the top 100 players in baseball.
Pollock was a year removed from a 2015 All-Star campaign, and a serious elbow injury plus a lingering groin issue limited the outlook on his impact heading into last year. Bradley, who to begin the spring of 2017 was still a starting pitching prospect, had yet to perform in a relief role that he not only embraced but shined in with a 1.73 ERA by the end of the season.
A year later, a lot of changed in terms of Arizona’s outlook — and a lot of that can be credited to Bradley and Pollock, who both appeared in the top 100 of ESPN’s 2018 version of MLBRank.
A panel of baseball writers and analysts ranked Bradley No. 84 with a ZiPS projected Wins Above Replacement (WAR) of 1.7.
Bradley posted a 5.18 ERA in 34 starts in the majors before shifting to the bullpen, a move that has given him new life.
His ERA in 73.0 frames a season ago ranked fifth-best in MLB, and the D-backs have kept him in the same role as a high-pressure relief option. Regardless of which inning he’s entered the game, Bradley has given manager Torey Lovullo a late-inning arm to lean upon along with newcomers Yoshi Hirano and Brad Boxberger, the latter of whom earned the title of closer.
Through nine appearances in Arizona’s 11-4 start to 2018, Bradley (2.70 ERA) has pitched 10.0 innings, allowed three runs, struck out 10, issued three walks and recorded one save.
Meanwhile, Pollock, who came in at 92nd in MLBRank, has appeared in every game so far and is slashing .273/.339/.600 with three home runs, 12 RBI and nine runs scored. Those numbers are on pace to potentially give Pollock a career offensive season, and ESPN has the center fielder finishing the year with a ZiPS projected 3.4 WAR.
Despite being hampered by injuries, Pollock has shown that he can be a 5-tool player when healthy. In his one complete season in 2015, Pollock hit 20 homers with 39 stolen bases, while batting .315 and winning a Gold Glove.
ESPN will release the top 50 players of its latest MLBRrank on Wednesday, and one would expect Paul Goldschmidt, and perhaps a starting pitcher or two, will join Bradley and Pollock in representing the Diamondbacks.