Arizona Diamondbacks Roundtable: Where Does Archie Bradley Begin 2016?
With few rotation spots to go around, where will Archie Bradley begin the 2016 season?
Archie Bradley is having an interesting start to his career in the Major Leagues. The question is, will he be back in the Majors with the Arizona Diamondbacks to start next season? After a dominating April in 2015, Bradley looked like the young phenom that the team wanted him to be when they called him up.
Then he took a terrifying shot to the face off a line drive and Bradley would miss some time, but not before getting back on the mound quickly because of a toughness and grit that would make Kevin Towers happier like nothing else. The problem was that he wasn’t good coming back and had a ballooned ERA of 5.60 when his season was ended early with the big club because of a shoulder injury.
Heading into 2016, Bradley will be looking to rebound and put together a season more like the one he had in April. Will there be a spot for him in the rotation, though? The Diamondbacks will certainly look to add pitching in the off-season and with Patrick Corbin, Rubby De La Rosa and Jeremy Hellickson all likely to have rotation spots, that leaves maybe one spot for Bradley, Aaron Blair, Robbie Ray and the rest of the young pitchers.
So where does Archie Bradley start the 2016 season? Let’s check out our latest roundtable discussion.
Some would point to Bradley’s 2-0 record and 1.80 ERA before getting hit in the face with a come-backer this summer as evidence that he was ready to become a mainstay in the Major League rotation. Smart stats guys would point to his 12:11 strikeout-to-walk ratio in the three games before the injury as evidence that he was “effectively wild” and lucky more than anything. He used a lot of pitches and never lasted deep into a game before the injury.
With that said, the Diamondbacks want him to be a starting pitcher, they want him in the Majors, and they want it to happen sooner rather than later. Unless he is down right awful in Spring Training, or suffers an extended injury, he will be on the Major League roster. The big question is whether it will be as a starter or out of the bullpen. That’s where is actual results in Spring Training come in. If healthy and bad, he’ll be in the bullpen. If healthy and good (or at least passable), he’ll be in the rotation.
One thing to keep an eye on though, is what the Diamondbacks do with Daniel Hudson and Aaron Blair. If both of them are in the rotation to start the year, Bradley will be looking at being the #5, meaning he may start in Triple A with an eye on coming up near the end of the first month when a fifth starter is necessary.
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I believe Archie Bradley will start the 2016 season at Triple A Reno. The numbers game is going to squeeze him out of the starting five. Patrick Corbin is a given and there will be at least one free agent acquisition to pair with Corbin at the top of the rotation. I don’t think the team will find any takers for Jeremy Hellickson and to me, Rubby De La Rosa is going to get another shot to stick in the rotation.
If a young pitcher is going to break camp as part of the staff, it will be Aaron Blair. He has progressed very quickly through the Minor League system and there is nothing left for him to prove at the Triple A level. Bradley could be eased back into the D-backs after getting some innings and mechanics worked on with the Aces.
Unless there is an injury or two or an unexpected trade in the works, Archie Bradley starts in Reno. However, he will be back before Memorial Day.
In all likelihood, Archie Bradley will be back at some point during 2016, but it won’t be at the beginning of the season, because of the drastic numbers game going on. What is important for Bradley, is that he puts together a good spring and shows that his struggles were just a one-time thing.
He has all the talent in the world and can be the pitcher the Arizona Diamondbacks need to get to the next level. However, that has been the story for a lot of young Diamondback pitchers before getting sent elsewhere.