After selecting perhaps the safest prospect in UCLA pitcher Trevor Bauer with the third pick in the 2011 MLB Draft, the Arizona Diamondbacks stick to bolstering the pitching in their organization with the seventh pick and select high school right-hander Archie Bradley out of Broken Arrow HS in Oklahoma.
Archie Bradley is another two-sport star who, like Bubba Starling, is going to have to choose between baseball and playing quarterback for a Big 12 school. Bradley, 18-years-old from Tulsa, Oklahoma, has already committed to the University of Oklahoma and will have to decide if being a Sooner for a few years is worth more than the multi-million dollar contract he's now facing. This is an interesting pick considering this pick is a compensation pick and if the team cannot sign Bradley, they don't get another one.
Bradley is a prototypical young power pitcher who's been compared to Brad Penny. He's already 6-foot-4 and 225 lbs and certainly will get bigger over the next few years as he puts on some man-weight. His fastball is in the mid 90's but he's touched 100 mph and his curveball is already an outpitch with a sharp 12-to-6 drop. Unlike some of the other top pitching prospects, Bradley is currently a two-pitch guy. His changeup is a work in progress and his command is what you might expect from a young hurler.
This kid has a lot of upside but isn't quite as major-league ready as some of the other arms in the top 10 of the 2011 MLB Draft although some scouts say he could reach the majors by age 20.
Bradley is friends with the other top high school prospect from Oklahoma, Dylan Bundy. Bundy's dad even helped Bradley with his mechanics as he transitioned back from football to baseball early in the spring season.
"In my mind, I see myself as one of those guys who hits 100 consistently," he said, mentioning Justin Verlander, Aroldis Chapman and Joel Zumaya. "If I put the work in that I'm doing now and do it consistently instead of picking up a football - if I stay focused on baseball, I could be one of those guys, throwing 96-100 every outing."
The Cleveland Indians are next in the MLB Draft with the eighth pick.