Archie Bradley is the hero Phoenix deserves and the one the Arizona Diamondbacks need right now, like a bearded Batman.
If the Diamondbacks were a well-oiled machine, and I’m not saying they’re perfect, but if they were, Bradley is the oil.
I’d be the first person to tell you that one player cannot and does not make the difference on any given team, more so in baseball than any other sport.
Think back to Angels fans excitement over the signing of Albert Pujols. There’s no doubt that he’s an incredible baseball player, but they haven’t seen the World Series their casual fans were so quick to predict.
Even this year, Aaron Judge has been one of the best stories of the year. He has given the New York Yankees 35 home runs and owns a 5.3 WAR. Yet, the Yankees aren’t even leading the AL East. They’re four games behind the Boston Red Sox.
But, there’s no doubt that the presence of a certain player changes something, whether that’s chemistry, or energy, whatever it is, Archie Bradley brings it to the Diamondbacks clubhouse.
From his humor during Jake Lamb’s 2016 All-Star Game, to the marketing of his legendary beard, to his pure passion in the game, the Diamondbacks would not be the same without him.
His stats don’t hurt either. After moving into the bullpen for the 2017 season, Bradley has a 1.42 ERA in 50.2 IP over 42 games. His WHIP is 0.947 and he has earned 57 strikeouts.
But, like I said, it’s more than stats. It’s the same passion Jose Fernandez brought to Miami, the same joy Nick Swisher played with in New York, and honestly, it’s just fun to watch.
Archie Bradley is putting Phoenix on his shoulders. This easily places him in the same category as the Phoenix Suns young star Devin Booker and Arizona Cardinals veteran Larry Fitzgerald.
Bradley is one of those young players that can shape baseball and inspire fans.
Intentionally or not, that is what Bradley did in the 6-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday. After his best friend and roommate Jake Lamb gave the Diamondbacks the lead with a grand slam, the bearded Batman grabbed his glove.
Bradley used seven pitches to retire three straight batters. He was visibly pumped on the field and for good reason, the Dodgers have the best record in baseball.
Critics (or trolls) on Twitter wanted to remind Bradley that the Diamondbacks are still 15 games behind the Dodgers in the division race. They ignored the Diamondbacks third-best record in the NL and their return to the lead in the Wild Card race.
However, Bradley answered critics in a post-game interview. It isn’t about the standings.
Bradley also took to Twitter to defend his actions and his team. The man clearly loves being a Diamondback and wants to share that with fans.
Arizona should be proud to call Bradley a Diamondback. At only 24 years old (25 on Thursday), let’s hope for a lengthy career at Chase Field.