The Sports Xchange

MLB Team Report - Arizona Diamondbacks - INSIDE PITCH

MIAMI -- Right-handers Archie Bradley and Braden Shipley are more than just two minor-league players.

Together, these two 22-year-olds carry much of the hopes and dreams of the Arizona Diamondbacks fans and front-office executives.

The current Arizona pitching staff ranks next-to-last in the National League in team ERA.

Part of the problems is a lack of power arms. No pitcher on the current D-Backs staff can consistently throw north of 94 mph.

Enter Bradley, the ninth-best prospect in all of baseball. He can hit 97 mph with his fastball.

Enter, too, Shipley, who is ranked baseball's 62nd-best prospect and can dial it up to 98 mph.

Bradley, a 6-4, 235-pounder out of Oklahoma, was Arizona's first-round pick in 2011, No. 7 overall. He went 12-6 in 2012, his first full year of pro ball, and was dominant last year, going 14-5 with a 1.84 ERA as he shuffled between Class A and Double-A.

This year, though, Bradley has struggled. He went 1-4 with a 5.18 ERA in five Triple-A starts before being sent back down to Double-A, where he is 2-2 with a 3.77 ERA.

But scouting reports indicate he has a "plus, plus fastball with late life" and a "plus curve". He also has a changeup that could become an above-average pitch. Some scouts consider him the game's premier power-pitching prospect.

Shipley, who is 6-3 and 190 pounds, played shortstop as a college freshman at Nevada-Reno. But he was converted to pitcher before his sophomore year and soon became a dominant college pitcher and the D-Backs' first-round pick -- No. 15 overall -- in 2013.

He's 6-10 with a 4.16 ERA so far in his minor-league career. But he has averaged more than a strikeout per inning and recently joined Bradley at Double-A Mobile.

Scouts say Shipley has a "clean, repeatable" delivery and has developed very quickly given his late start on the mound.

Could we see either or both of these talented pitchers in the big leagues next month when MLB rosters can expand up to 40 players?

It's possible -- certainly, Bradley's agent has been publicly pushing for his client to be promoted to the majors.

But it's also very possible that neither is quite ready yet and the D-Backs decide to wait until sometime next year.


MLB Team Report - Arizona Diamondbacks - NOTES, QUOTES