Both ESPN and Baseball America have now published midseason prospect rankings, and the Diamondbacks’ Archie Bradley features prominently in both. On Baseball America’s version, Bradley was the top pitching prospect at 6th overall. ESPN’s Keith Law also had Bradley as the top pitcher, listing him 8th and noting that since ranking Bradley 29th before the season, the pitcher has demonstrated improved command and control.
In late May, Bradley had risen to 9th for Law, who noted a fastball up to 98 and “a curveball from hell.” The notes comport with Baseball America’s grades in its preseason list, which gave Bradley’s fastball a “realistic future ceiling” grade of 75 on the scouting scale and a 65 grade for the curveball. Thirteen pitchers got a grade of 75 or better for their fastballs, but only eleven pitchers received curveball grades as high as 65.
While there is every reason for optimism for Bradley’s future, Law did note in his midseason top 50 that Bradley’s curveball has not been as consistent this year, losing a bit of its sharpness. Law does still consider the curve a swing and miss pitch, and it seemed on Sunday in the Futures Game that World hitters were forced to agree. Rounding out Bradley’s arsenal is a changeup which Law expects to be a league-average pitch.
Both lists did not consider players who were on major league rosters, and because Law’s came out some two weeks later, LHP Tyler Skaggs was only considered by Baseball America. BA rated Skaggs 14th, but made no note of the reduced velocity we’ve been seeing. A recent dip in velocity has threatened Skaggs’ status as a rising star, but as AZCentral’s Nick Piecoro recently wrote, Skaggs dealt with a similar velocity dip last year. It looks like Skaggs is in line for a start back with the big club on Monday, but it may be that Arizona fans won’t know what Skaggs is capable of until the beginning of the 2014 season. BA did not note whether it considered Skaggs’ recent decreased velocity in its rankings, but even if Skaggs sits at 90 mph for the rest of his career, he still has a chance to be better than league-average as a lefty.
So where are the other Dbacks prospects? Adam Eaton ranked 48th for Baseball America, but was probably ineligible for Law (given Eaton’s call up on July 9th). Other Dbacks rankings entrants in the preseason lists were Didi Gregorius, ranked 80th by BA before his call up, and Matt Davidson (Law #75, BA #88). In a chat yesterday, Keith Law seemed to indicate that Davidson was still a top 100 prospect in his eyes, and Davidson certainly looked good at the Futures, with a two-run blast. When another fan asked about Chris Owings, who has been killing the ball at Reno, Law didn’t say whether Owings had made a run at his top 50, remarking that although he likes Owings, it would be nice if he took more walks. Law later added that David Holmberg was the type of pitcher who didn’t rank well in his lists.
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