Who doesn't like a good old fashioned power arm that is big and projectable? Archie Bradley is that prototypical top of the rotation power arm starter that organizations dream about drafting. He's 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, and only 18 years old. Bradley is a three sport star that is committed to Oklahoma to play football and baseball. Bradley is a three pitch guy that features an above average fastball and curveball to go with a changeup. He typically sits in the 92-96 mph range, but has touched as high as 98 and even 101 mph in a state championship while striking out 14. Bradley could be a hard sign due to the Oklahoma commitment and is reportedly seeking a five-year 20 million contract.
Archie Bradley is big and projectable! When you're sitting in the 92-96 mph range and hitting 100 mph with a punch out curveball that just screams high strikeouts. Bradley has the potential to have three above average pitches that he could throw with control. He has a similar delivery to the Florida Marlins Josh Johnson, and could have a similar high ceiling as far as his potential goes. Can you imagine a rotation in 2014 of Archie Bradley, Mike Foltynewicz, Jordan Lyles, and Bud Norris?
It's hard to look at this power arm and not seeing him succeed in some shape or form, but we all remember Felipe Paulino don't we. Sometimes you can have a big arm with above average stuff, but if you cannot command your pitches then you're going to have a really hard time succeeding at the major league level. In order to make it, Bradley will need to be able to command his fastball, curveball, and changeup. He does have the stuff to be a closer with his above average fastball and curveball, but he will be giving every opportunity to start before being moved to the bullpen.
Will the Astros pick him? If so, where?
Quote from Keith Law:
It sounds like the Astros are prepared to tangle with Bradley's football scholarship to Oklahoma and potentially high price tag. Alternatives include Lindor and Jed Bradley (no relation).
Could the Astros have changed their draft philosophy and actually be targeting a prospect who could be the best player on the board when they pick at the 11th spot? It appears so, but we'll have to wait until draft day to see if the Zebra has really changed its stripes. If the Astros are going to select Archie Bradley then it's going to have to be with the 11th pick in the draft. There is a very good chance that he doesn't make out of the top 10 and definitely won't make it to the 2nd round of the draft when the Astros pick again.
Where is he projected to go right now?
ESPN: 11th to the Houston Astros
Baseball America: 9th to the Chicago Cubs
MLB.com: 6th to the Washington Nationals
What Scout's say about him...
Bradley is committed to Oklahoma as a quarterback but his passion is baseball, and he has a much better pro future in our sport than on the gridiron.
He spent much of the spring pitching at 90-93 but has returned to his former velocity in mid-April, reaching 97 most times out and sitting 92-95 with some downhill plane on the pitch. His out pitch and primary off speed weapon is a hammer curveball at 80-84 that might be the best in the draft, coming out of his arm hard and then breaking sharply downward.
Bradley is as big and physical as you'd expect from a quarterback and looks built for a workhorse role. His delivery is pretty simple for a guy his size; he keeps his hands away from his body and pronates his elbow nice and early, but doesn't generate much torque through hip rotation. Bradley will inevitably be compared to his friend and fellow Oklahoma prep pitcher Dylan Bundy, but they're different animals. Bundy is more polished, with better present command and feel for pitching, while Bradley offers size and projection. You can't go wrong with either guy.
Just four Oklahoma high school pitchers have been drafted in the first round prior to 2011: Ronnie Walden, Jamey Wright, Matt Roney and Chad James. Dylan Bundy and Bradley will add to that list this June, and while Bundy has separated himself from Bradley (and every other prep pitcher in the nation) this spring, Bradley still should go in the upper half of the round. After showing a 92-95 mph fastball that touched 98 last summer, he wasn't at his best at the start of the season but was back in peak form by the time the state playoffs began in May. He touched 101 mph on the scoreboard radar gun while striking out 14 and pitching a two-hit shutout in the Oklahoma 6-A state championship game against Owasso, then the nation's No. 1-ranked team. Bradley's hammer curveball can be just as devastating as his fastball, and he has some feel for a changeup. He has a clean delivery that he maintains well, though at times it can get out of whack. An athletic 6-foot-4, 215-pounder, Bradley is also a top quarterback prospect who would play both baseball and football at Oklahoma in the unlikely event that he doesn't turn pro. Teams weren't taking his five-year, $20 million asking price seriously, though he could top the $5.25 million two-sport deal the Dodgers gave righthander/quarterback Zach Lee a year ago.
If big, projectable high school right-handers are your thing, then Bradley may be the guy for you. He seemed to shake off a rough start to the season by returning to close to the summer form that put him near the top of many lists.
Bradley looks the part, strong and tall with a lot of arm strength. When he's right, he can touch 96 mph with his fastball, and he was throwing 93-96 mph after his initial struggles. He's got a power curve that will be at least an above-average pitch, and his changeup will be fine, giving him the chance to have three above-average pitches. He doesn't just rear back and throw it, and he should have future plus control and command.
A three-sport athlete, it's possible his slow start was due to not being able to focus solely on pitching. While he may not have been as consistently good this spring as he was last summer, a strong finish should move him back up boards, and he could be better than the other high school arms in this class a few years down the line.