Archie Bradley Battling For Final Bullpen Spot


With less than a week now to the start of the season, the roster for the Arizona Diamondbacks is becoming more set. The club announced the five starters for the rotation yesterday and we have a pretty good idea on who the starters are and who is going to round out the bench.

One of the biggest questions going into the remaining days of spring training is who the final arm in the D’Backs bullpen is going to be. Right now, Addison Reed, Brad Ziegler, Evan Marshall, Oliver Perez and Randall Delgado are locks to start the year in the bullpen.

With Matt Reynolds starting the year at Triple-A Reno and David Hernandez on the disabled list until May, three guys are competing for the final spot in the ‘pen; Archie Bradley, Robbie Ray and Enrique Burgos.

Obviously, Bradley is the most intriguing name of the three. Despite his 2014, the young right-hander is still the D’Backs top pitching prospect with an extremely bright future ahead of him.

Ray and Burgos are names who most fans probably aren’t very familiar with.

Ray was acquired as part of the three-team trade with the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers during the winter. Like Bradley, Ray has seen nearly all of his time in the minors as a starter.

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Burgos has really come on the last couple of years down in the minors and he’s been great this spring. Possessing electric stuff, the 24-year-old has a 1.80 ERA in 10 appearances during spring training.

On this topic, Nick Piecoro of wrote a story about how the D’Backs could be taking an old school approach with Bradley this season.

"“This goes back to the 1960s and ’70s when I started paying attention,” Tony La Russa said. “You bring in a starter that’s just about ready and instead of throwing him into the responsibility of every fifth day, he gets acclimated to the big leagues and he sees the work routine that a starting pitcher goes through. It’s just a nice way to break in. You can be careful with the assignments that you give him.”"

The article mentions Adam Wainwright, who began his career in the bullpen in St. Louis with LaRussa. Since becoming a full-time starter, Wainwright has had four top three finishes in Cy Young voting.

Despite LaRussa’s success with Wainwright, I would still prefer to see Bradley begin his season down in Reno as a starter.

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Unlike Wainwright, Bradley would be used in a long relief role, which could put wear and tear on an arm which is used to going out there every fifth day instead of multiple days during the week. Plus, you would also burn a year of his club control in a role he isn’t suited for long term.

If this organizations sees Bradley as their staff ace in the near future, it would make more sense to have him develop as a starter down in the minors compared to him having him in a long relief role in the majors. He’s going to learn how to pitch quickly in a hitters league like the PCL.

My vote would be to send Bradley and Ray to Reno to help form one of the better starting rotations in all of minor league baseball and give the final bullpen spot to Burgos. He would add another power to a bullpen which could be a strength this season.

Of course, I’m not the one calling the shots. I guess I’ll leave it up to the individuals who do.

Next: D'Backs Final Spring Training Battles