What is wrong with Archie Bradley?


Feb 7, 2014; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Archie Bradley (2) throws in the bullpen during the first day of camp at Salt River Fields. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

To add insult to injury to yesterday’s collapse at Chase Field, top prospect Archie Bradley struggled once again in a start for Triple A Reno. On Saturday, Bradley added another chapter to his surprising early season struggles where he has a 1-4 record and a 5.18 era. With these struggles, the Diamondbacks should be concerned for multiple reasons.

That is not the type of numbers you normally see out of one of the top pitching prospects in the minors. On Saturday, the right hander gave up seven hits, four walks, and five earned runs to the Triple A Salt Lake Bees-the Triple A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  He lasted just 4 innings. Bradley hasn’t lasted more than 4.1 innings in his last three starts.

Just two weeks ago, Bradley’s agent, Jay Franklin publicly called for the promotion of his client to the big leagues with the Dbacks rotation struggling out of the gate. Dbacks starting pitchers have recently put up 18.2 scoreless innings and three quality starts. However, when Bradley’s agent asked him to be promoted, Snakes starters were really struggling, at the bottom in era and home runs allowed.

Bradley, who is ranked as the no.9 overall prospect by Baseball America failed to make the Diamondbacks starting rotation, putting up a 4.32 era in 8.1 innings during the 2014 Cactus League season. He was competing with Randall Delgado for the fifth starters spot. Delgado was recently removed to the bullpen and was replaced by Josh Collmenter.

Bradley looked really good against major league hitters in live BP but struggled during spring training games. Manager Kirk Gibson and General Manager Kevin Towers wanted to keep him in the minors so he could work on his control. Last season, Bradley collectively went 14-5 with a 1.84 era in stints with Single-A Visalia and Double-A Mobile.

I am concerned about Bradley’s production so far at the Triple A level and so should the Dbacks front office. What concerns me most is the timing of his agents statements and the results in Reno after those statements.

After Franklin called for Bradley to be promoted, the Broken Arrow Okla native has gone 0-3 with an 8.76 era. Despite being one of the top pitching prospects in the MLB, I wonder if everybody is rushing his devolpment and putting to much pressure on him and that is why he is struggling. To much pressure can often times mean a loss in confidence, and that could be what is happening to Bradley.

Just because the Diamondbacks starting rotation is struggling doesn’t mean the Dbacks need to rush him up to the big league club so he can be the savior. The big league pitchers need to simply start doing their job. Remember, Bradley is just a kid, asking him to save this team is putting to much pressure on him. His agent misspoke and I think it has hurt him.

Especially considering he failed to miss the big club out of spring training when everybody was expecting him to again put alot of pressure on him. The media was expecting him to be up here in April and make a huge impact which for a young kid could have put more pressure on him. Traditionally, younger players are affected more by pressure and that could be true for Bradley. I hope he can handle Triple A hitters and that isn’t the reason.

As long as Bradley and everybody else can stay in the moment and focus on what he has to do than he will be in the big leagues in no time. The bottom line is that Archie Bradley needs to stay in the minors as long as he continues to struggle and everybody needs to stop calling for him to save the team because that wont help him.