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The Diamondbacks Sign Archie Bradley - How Fast Can He Rise Through the Minors? | August
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As expected, the Diamondbacks signed 1st Round pick (#7 Overall) Archie Bradley. What was a little surprising is that Bradley signed for only $5M, even less than the $5.25M that the Dodgers paid to Zach Lee last year. Like Lee, Bradley had a Divisin I college football scholarship to play QB, and like Lee, his contract is a "two-sport" contract, which allows the money to be split over 5 years.  There are two main reasons for these two-sport deals:
1) It allows teams to spend more money, since the player has the additional leverage of a college football offer.
2) By spreading the money over 5 years, the player is less likely to quit baseball after one season (with all of the bonus money) and go back to football.

We discussed the great talents of Archie Bradley in a previous article - Draft Recap. Now that he has signed, how quickly can Diamondbacks' fans expect to see Bradley in the Majors? As we did with the Trevor Bauer signing last week, let's look at how quickly recent drafted high school pitchers have risen through the Minors.

 

Year Player State Draft Year Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4
2010 (2) Jameson Taillon TX - A
2010 (19) Michael Foltynewicz IL Rk A
2010 (27) Jesse Biddle PA Rk/A- A
2010 (28) Zach Lee TX - A
2010 (29) Cam. Bedrosian GA Rk INJ
2009 (5) Matthew Hobgood CA Rk A Rk/A-
2009 (6) Zack Wheeler GA - A A+
2009 (9) Jacob Turner MO - A/A+ AA/AL
2009 (11) Tyler Matzek CA - A A/A+
2009 (18) Chad James OK - A A+
2009 (19) Shelby Miller TX A A A+/AA
2008 (15) Ethan Martin GA - A A+ A+/AA
2008 (32) Jake Odorizzi IL Rk Rk A A+/AA
2007 (9) Jarrod Parker IN - A A+/AA INJ AA
2007 (10) Mad. Bumgarner NC - A A+/AA/NL AAA/NL NL
2007 (11) Phillippe Aumont CAN - A A+/AA A+/AA AA/AAA
2007 (17) Blake Beavan TX - A A+/AA AA/AAA AAA/AL
2007 (20) Chris Withrow TX Rk A+ A+/AA AA AA
2007 (22) Tim Alderson AZ Rk A+ A+/AA A+/AA AA
2007 (24) Michael Main FL Rk/A- Rk/A Rk/A+ A+/AA A+
2007 (27) Rick Porcello NJ - A+ AL AAA/AL AL

No high school pitcher from the 2010 draft has reached the Majors yet, but 2009 draftee Jacob Turner was recently called up by the Detroit Tigers. None of the 1st Rounders from the 2008 draft has made the Majors yet, but from 2007, there have been three - Madison Bumgarner, Blake Beavan, and Rick Porcello. Jarrod Parker probably would have been the 4th if he had not lost a year to Tommy John surgery.

So where does Bradley fit in? He is certainly one of the most talented and polished high school pitchers to be drafted in recent years. He will probably start in Rookie ball right away, and should start 2012 in Class A South Bend of the Midwest League. If all goes well, 2013 should start in High Class A Visalia of the California League, and potentially finish in AA Mobile of the Southern League. Again, if all goes well, 2014 could be a AA/AAA season, with a potential cup of coffee in the Majors late in the season. 2015 would be a year where Bradley could be expected to challenge for a starting spot in Spring Training, and hopefully he will stick in the Majors in 2015 or 2016.  As Bradley was born in August 1992, he would still be only 22 if he opened the 2015 season in the Majors. 

Along with the Atlanta Braves, the Diamondbacks now have one of the two best groups of young pitchers in baseball. The Diamondbacks' group includes Ian Kennedy (26), Daniel Hudson (24), Trevor Bauer (20), Jarrod Parker (22), Tyler Skaggs (20), and Archie Bradley (19).  The next tier of pitching prospects is also very impressive, with Wade Miley (24), Patrick Corbin (22), David Holmberg (20), Charles Brewer (23), Chase Anderson (23), and recent draftees Andrew Chafin and Anthony Meo.