Archie Bradley has been compared to Justin Verlander.
I could stop there and you’d understand why he’s such an exciting pitching prospect. At 6’4″, 225 lbs., the righty was drafted in the 1st round of the 2011 draft and all the hype was deserved.
In 2013 his minor league stats were a minuscule 1.97 ERA (123.1 IP, 93 H, 119 K, 59 BB) at Double-A Mobile, plus a 1.26 ERA (28.2 IP, 22 H, 43 K, 10 BB) at High-A Visalia
He has an unbelievable fastball that hits anywhere between 93-97 on the gun, but has been known to touch 100. To go with that he has a high velocity curveball that drops like Mjolnir, Thor’s big ‘ole hammer. Topping off his arsenal is a rapidly improving changeup that just makes his ridiculously good fastball become ludicrously good.
He’s also known as an aggressive competitor who works harder than anyone.
But enough about me.
Archie Bradley Sounds too Good to be True
It’s hard to analyze numbers when they are covered in such a thick broth of sugary sweetness, so let’s get some weaknesses out of the way.
A former quarterback, Archie is a fantastic athlete. Despite that, he was known to lose his delivery and struggle with balance when first drafted. Because of this he struggled with his control.
That is largely behind him, but it’s hard be fully confident that he has all of his control issues fully behind him, despite his mastery of late. He could use a touch of Triple A seasoning.
His changeup also isn’t a pitch fully ready for primetime, although he has taken giant strides forward with it (and at 6’4″ he can take a long stride). When your pitches are as fast as Bradley’s the secret weapon is actually a pitch that slows the whole sequence down.
Finally, Bradley certainly will get a lot of the innings that the Arizona Diamondbacks lost when Patrick Corbin went down, but do keep in mind that he’ll be on an innings limit this season, topping out around 160 if his minor league progress was bears any indication.
What Will Convince You?
Let’s get to know Archie Bradley so you can develop that special little bond necessary to draft him on your fantasy team.
I realized, of course, that what all fine, mature fantasy baseball players really wanted to know was who Archie Bradley is dating and should we expect to see him soon on Dancing With the Stars. Alas, the internet left with no answers. All I could find were example after example of how hard Bradley works (Pfffft! That prima donna!)
With rumors of Justin Verlander again attached to Kate Upton and fellow pitching prospect Kevin Gausman still with his long-time college cheerleader girlfriend, I thought for sure I’d find something on Archie as well. (You aren’t fooling anyone with this good guy routine!)
All I found was this video that showed Archie Bradley genuinely excited about pitching and taking the ribbing of his coaches in stride. (Fine. I guess you really are a nice guy.)
Back to the Numbers
That out of the way, let’s not lose focus on the fact that Archie Bradley’s overall fantasy potential is that of a #1 starter for years to come.
Bradley will be a special fantasy pitcher. He has a workhorse build and three plus pitches. Those pitches will bring TONS of strikeouts —a potential for 230+ in a season—and he should contribute to fantasy teams in ERA and wins as well.
The question mark is whether he’ll walk too many batters to be an impact in the WHIP category. If he walks too many the WHIP will hover in the 1.20 range, and it will be tough for him to be an elite fantasy option (the lowest WHIP recorded by a top-10 starter in 2013 was Jordan Zimmermann’s 1.09 mark). But with his quick progress and incredible work ethic, it’s tough not to be optimistic there.
So who’s the best pitching prospect in fantasy baseball? This Crackerjack knows you know, but I want to hear you say it.
SAY HIS NAME!
Boom! Take that Taijuan Walker, Yordano Ventura, Noah Syndergaard, Robert Stephenson, Carlos Martinez, and even Bronson Arroyo for some weird reason. Archie Bradley is fantasy baseball’s best pitching prospect. And he seems like a darned nice guy to boot.