Nationals Roster Cuts — Down to 27

Aaron Barrett has made the Opening Day roster

Aaron Barrett has made the Opening Day roster.

Following their last home game of Spring Training, the Nationals made a series of roster cuts that have finally given shape to parts of their Opening Day roster.  All told, the Nationals cut five players today — they  optioned RHP Ryan Mattheus, LHP Xavier Cedeno, and 1B/LF Tyler Moore to AAA Syracuse, while serving outright release papers to utility infielder Jamey Carroll and RHP Chris Young.  Additionally, they have informed righty reliever Aaron Barrett that he has made the Opening Day bullpen.

Coming into today, the Nationals had active competition for three spots on their roster — the fifth starter, the final reliever, and the final bench spot.  So how do these cuts affect the composition of the team?

Carroll and Moore were thought to be the only two players competing for that final bench spot — if one of them didn’t get it, it seemed likely that the other would.  But having either one on the roster would seemingly create redundancy on the roster.  Moore’s value is as a right-handed bat to platoon with lefty swinger Adam LaRoche, but Ryan Zimmerman’s ability to play first seemingly eliminates the need to keep a roster spot open for such a player.  Similarly, Danny Espinosa fills Carroll’s presumed role of utility infielder quite nicely, as he has displayed the ability to play excellent defense at multiple positions over his career.  So instead, the Nationals are going in a different direction:

Kobernus, who recorded 45 stolen bases last year in time at Syracuse and in DC, would provide the Nationals with a pinch runner in key situations — a position on the bench previous manager Davey Johnson eschewed in favor of “hairy-chested bench bats.”  Meanwhile, keeping Leon on the roster would allow the Nationals to use Wilson Ramos as a pinch hitter in days where he doesn’t start (and the fact that they are considering utilizing a roster spot just to have Ramos pinch hit shows how highly the Nationals rate his bat).

Meanwhile, adding Barrett, a 26-year old reliever with a killer slider who, nonetheless, has never pitched beyond AA, to the Opening Day roster completes the Nationals bullpen.  It means the Nationals’ bullpen will initially contain five right handers (Barrett, Drew Storen, Craig Stammen, Rafael Soriano, and Tyler Clippard), and two lefties (Ross Detwiler and Jerry Blevins).  Furthermore, it means that the loser of the fifth starter battle — either Tanner Roark or Taylor Jordan — will not then make the team as a long reliever.  Instead, they will be sent back to AAA Syracuse, where they will continue to start, ready to head to Washington in case of injury or ineffectiveness.  The Nationals were said to have been only considering using Roark in long relief, not Jordan, so this move might be a slight tip of the hand that Roark has earned the fifth starter job:

Keep in mind that major league rosters are extraordinarily fluid — the 25 men who will have their names announced at Citi Field on Monday are not going to be the same as the 25 men who are announced September 28th against the Marlins.  But after a long spring, today’s cuts have made manager Matt Williams’ vision of an ideal Opening Day roster quite clear.

 

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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly — Nats vs. Mets, 3/25/14 (Spring Training)

Editor’s note: We haven’t covered the last couple Spring Training games — frankly, after watching games that count in Australia, it’s kind’ve hard to get excited about the meaningless contests going on in Florida.  But we will have full recaps of the final three exhibition games, along with plenty of other great content leading up to Opening Day.

Today marked the final time the Washington Nationals will take the field at Space Coast Stadium, a welcome fact for players and fans who are ready to see their team leave Viera and head north for the regular season.  The contest against the Mets (the Nationals’ opponents on Opening Day) also marked the final Spring Training tuneup for Nationals’ ace and Opening Day starter Stephen Strasburg; Strasburg was backed by a lineup that featured Jose Lobaton in place of Wilson Ramos, but otherwise contained all regulars.  The Nationals, on the backs of a 5-run third inning, took down the Mets by a score of 6-3.  Here now, the good, the bad, and the ugly from the game.

THE GOOD

— In 2013, Bryce Harper had a mammoth spring — .484/.507/.734 — that he then followed up with a .344/.430/.720 April.  This spring, however, had been a different story, as Harper had gone just 8 for 36 with two extra-base hits.  But if there was any doubt that Harper was fully healthy and ready for Opening Day, he erased it today with this mammoth blast:

harper homerThat 3-run home run was Harper’s only hit on the day, though he added a walk in the sixth.  But Harper’s shot — a 420-footer to the opposite field, off the flagpole in left-center — is a good indication that Harper will be just fine in the regular season.

Denard Span continued a hot spring with a near-perfect day today.  He dropped a bloop single over second in the first, lined an infield single to second in the third, walked in the fourth, and singled again in the fifth.  Matt Williams seems intent on using Span in the leadoff spot, and the key function of a leadoff man is to get on base.  Span’s 3-4 performance today, and his .347/.360/.449 spring triple-slash — have shown he has the ability to do just that (though the fact that he has only one walk is odd indeed).

— The best thing about Stephen Strasburg’s outing is that it was his last of the spring — the next time we will see him, it will be on March 31st at Citi Field.  The second best thing about the outing was Strasburg’s pitch count — 84 over 5 2/3 innings, meaning Strasburg will likely be able to near 100 pitches on Opening Day.  And the third-best thing about Strasburg’s outing was how successful it was.  In those 5 2/3 innings, Strasburg struck out seven.  He had one poor inning — the Mets’ three-run third — but otherwise dominated.  All four of his pitches looked strong, including his brand-new slider:

strasburg slider strikeoutHe even added a base hit for good measure.  See you Monday, Mr. Strasburg.

Ryan Zimmerman seems to always find his swing in Spring Training, and this year is no exception.  Today, he went 2-4 with three RBIs, including a two-run single and this solo home run:

zimmerman home runThe homer was Zimmerman’s second of the spring, and it raised his batting average to .325.  He has also looked strong on defense, including on this play, where he ranged far to the right of second base on a shift.

THE BAD

— The Mets put together a three-run inning off Strasburg in the third, including a Travis d’Arnaud home run and an Eric Young RBI triple.  During the inning, Strasburg appeared to be squeezed by home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstadt.  In the at-bat against d’Arnaud, Strasburg fired a 1-2 fastball that appeared to catch the outside corner, but was called a ball by Wendelstadt — the very next pitch was d’Arnaud’s home run.  There have been times throughout his career — this game against the Cubs comes to mind — when Strasburg has let someone else’s mistake derail his outing.  Today, however, Strasburg regained his composure, pitching several more strong innings after the third.

THE UGLY

— Spring Training camera angles are notoriously shoddy, and on this day, it meant that that we couldn’t see on television exactly where Harper’s homer landed.  Other than that, not too much ugly on the day.

The Nationals have two more games left to play in the Grapefruit League.  Tomorrow, they head to Jupiter to play the Cardinals, while tomorrow, they once again head to Port St. Lucie to play the Mets.  Wednesday’s game will be at 1:05, while Thursday’s will be a 12:10 start — both games will be televised on ESPN.

Can Aaron Barrett or Blake Treinen Break Camp?

We’ve neared the end of Spring Training, and the Nationals roster is beginning to take shape. Players who impressed this Spring, like Zach Walters. Brock Peterson, A.J Cole, and Sammy Solis have departed for the minor leagues. But there are two names of the thirty left in big league camp who are both surprising and intriguing: relievers Blake Treinen and Aaron Barrett. With the news that Ross Detwiler would be moved to the bullpen, it seems that there is only one bullpen spot left with a whole host of pitchers (Ryan Mattheus, Mike Gonzalez, Xavier Cedeno) vying for that coveted last spot. So do Barrett and Treinen stand a chance?

In 2010, the Nationals drafted  Aaron Barrett with the 266th pick of the draft. Barrett, who was a starter at the University of Mississippi, immediately struggled in rookie ball, allowing 22 earned runs in 21 innings in his first season. His struggles were so bad, that he was considering giving up baseball. After his atrocious 2010 season, Barrett gave up starting pitching and was moved to the bullpen, where, in 2011, he continued to struggle with his command. However, something changed for Barrett in 2012. Barrett started the season in single-A with the Hagerstown Suns, where he impressed many by dropping his ERA to 2.60 in 34.2 before getting called up to single-A+ Potomac in July. In Potomac, Barrett continued to improve, compiling a 1.06 ERA in 17 innings. In 2013, Barrett played the entire season in AA Harrisburg, where, from the pen, he had a 2.15 ERA in 50.1 innings, while striking out 69 batters, and only walking 15. This offseason, Barrett received his first invite to major league camp, and thus far, he has not disappointed. In 8.2 innings this spring, Barrett has yet allowed a run, and has only allowed 4 base runners, while striking out 7. What makes Barrett so effective is his slider, which has been his main pitch throughout his career. Barrett also features a low-90’s fastball with sink, that Harrisburg Senators pitching coach Chris Michalak has described as a “bowling ball”.  What would give Barrett an edge over Treinen is the fact that last November, Barrett was placed on the 40-man roster, meaning that if he were to start the season in the majors, the Nationals would not need to designate any of their players for assignment.

Blake Treinen’s time in the Nationals organization has been much shorter than Barrett’s as Treinen was acquired last offseason along with AJ Cole and Ian Krol in Michael Morse trade. In his first season in professional baseball, Treinen was exclusively used as a relief pitcher. Then, in 2012, the single-A+ Stockton Ports shuttled Treinen from relief to starting pitching. By the end of the season, Treinen was almost exclusively used as a starting pitcher. After the before mentioned Michael Morse trade, Treinen was sent up to AA Harrisburg, where he started in 20 of 21 games he appeared in, posting a 3.64 ERA in 118.2 innings pitched with 2.61 K/BB ratio. Similarly to Barrett, this spring is Treinen’s first with a major league club. Even though his stats this spring haven’t been all that impressive, his stuff wows the scouts. Treinen’s repertoire is headlined by his 97 MPH slider, which has one scout saying that Treinen is absolutely one of the Nationals best 12 arms in the organization. However, Treinen’s raw stuff has not led to dominance in the minor leagues. His career K/9 of 7.7 is not particularly eye-popping. His 1.28 career WHIP is similarly uninspiring. On top of that, Treinen is not currently on the Nationals 40 man roster, which means that if he were to make the team, the Nationals most have to designate a player for assignment, with the most likely candidates being catcher  Jhonatan Solano or utility man Jeff Kobernus.   

It shouldn’t be forgotten that there are other pitchers also competing for that final bullpen spot. Mike Gonzalez, who was signed to a deal on March 4th, has struggled, compiling a 9.00 ERA in 4 appearances this spring. Xavier Cedeno has look good, but it is unlikely that the Nationals will want to carry a third lefty. Ryan Mattheus has been hurt the entire spring, and will most likely be ready for the start of the season. So that leaves Treinen and Barrett as two of the strongest viable candidates for the job. Even though Treinen’s raw talent is good enough to start in the majors, he has not yet harnessed it to become the dominate pitcher that his talent suggest. Barrett does not have the stuff that Treinen does, but he has shown more consistency in his last two seasons and against major league hitting this spring. If one of the two were to win the last spot, the Nationals would be wise to pick Aaron Barrett over Blake Treinen.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Spring Training Game 22 (Tigers vs. Nats)

Today, we at Serious Jammage were faced with a difficult decision.  Do we listen to a meaningless Nationals game out of obligation to chronicle the good, the bad, and the ugly of every single Spring Training contest?  Or, do we do what everyone else is doing today — skip work to watch Day 1 of the NCAA Tournament?  Well, luckily, we found a compromise; we put Charlie Slowes and Dave Jaegler on the radio, while watching the Battle for Ohio’s Soul™ on television.

For the second time in two days, the Nationals sent out a lineup that roughly resembled the one they will have on Opening Day, this time with newly anointed Opening Day starter Stephen Strasburg on the mound.  They played host to the Detroit Tigers, who countered with reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer.  Strasburg looked superb, while the Nationals managed to get to Scherzer — here is the good, the bad, and the ugly from today’s 8-1 Nationals’ win.

THE GOOD

— Coming off of offseason arm surgery, Stephen Strasburg has done everything in his power this spring to quiet questions about his health.  In his longest outing thus far, Strasburg pitched five superb innings, making just 66 pitches.  He allowed just three hits, walked one, induced two double plays, and faced just two over the minimum.  He struck out five in the outing, with a strong curveball and a fastball that sat at 92-95, just a tick below his 2013 average.  Strasburg likely has just one Spring Training start remaining before he toes the rubber at Citi Field on March 31st for Opening Day.

— After a hot start, Ian Desmond has struggled in the latter part of the spring, failing to get a hit in four of his last five starts.  But today, he took an 0-2 hanging curveball from Scherzer and deposited it over the fence, onto the grassy berm in left-center field.  The home run was Desmond’s third of the spring, and his fifth extra-base hit.  He would go 1-3 on the day.

— Lots of strong offensive performances today.  Jayson Werth went 2-3 with a first inning double, and now has 7 hits in 21 spring at-bats.  Jose Lobaton broke an 0-18 skid by going 2 for 2 with a double and a team-high 3 RBIs.  Ryan Zimmerman also added an RBI triple to right, his fourth RBI of the spring.

Jerry Blevins closed the game with a 1-2-3 inning.  But more importantly, his Dayton Flyers defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes, with Vee Sanford hitting a runner with 3 seconds remaining to give the team a 60-59 lead it would not relinquish.  From Mark Zuckerman:

Perhaps most importantly, as of press time, your humble scribe’s bracket is still perfect, as he had Dayton pulling off the upset.

THE BAD

Drew Storen’s spring will do little to silence those who say his disastrous 2013 was more than a fluke.  He gave up another run today in an inning of work, allowing two hits and a walk.  In 5 innings in Grapefruit League play, Storen has now allowed 7 hits and 4 runs, obviously not the performance he or the Nationals were looking for.

THE UGLY

— Not that it matters a great deal, but Bryce Harper has not looked very good this spring.  His 0-3, 2 strikeout performance today left him with a .167 spring batting average (5-30) with just one extra-base hit.  So why is Harper stuggling?  Matt Williams thinks he has the answer:

As long as the knee is healthy, this is likely no cause for concern.

The Nationals head to Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida tomorrow to take on the St. Louis Cardinals.  In a rematch of both games 1 and 5 of the 2012 NLDS, Adam Wainwright will face off against Gio Gonzalez.  The 1:05 start will be televised on Fox Sports Midwest and MLB.tv.

 

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Spring Training Game 21 (Astros vs. Nats)

Opening Day is fast approaching, and the Nationals’ final roster is beginning to take shape.  Tonight against the Houston Astros, the Nationals trotted out a lineup what would not seem out of place in the regular season:

 

You can quibble with that batting order, especially with Harper’s place in the fifth spot.  But all eight men on the lineup project to be regulars, and between that and the 6:05 start, tonight’s game felt almost like a regular season contest. The Nationals ended up being shutout by Jarred Cosart and the Astros, falling by a score of 2-0.  Here now is the good, the bad, and the ugly of tonight’s game.

THE GOOD

— Two days ago, manager Matt Williams announced that Ross Detwiler would not be considered for the fifth spot in the rotation.  Instead, that spot would be filled in an open competition between, Tanner Roark, Chris Young, and Taylor Jordan.  Roark got the first crack at making a positive impression after the announcement, allowing only two hits in seven innings in a minor league game.  But tonight, Jordan was equally as impressive.  In 5 innings, he allowed just one earned run on 3 hits.  He walked just one, and induced an impressive 9 fly ball outs.  And he struck out five, flashing a very impressive changeup:

taylor jordan k 1If Jordan can keep it up, his sterling spring (which includes 18 strikeouts in 15 innings) may end with him in New York come Opening Day.

— In his first appearance since being banished to the bullpen, Ross Detwiler seemed to have put the hard feelings of the past two days behind him. He breezed through his inning of work, throwing 18 pitches and allowing just a walk.  His fastball hit 94 MPH on the radar gun, and he also flashed a quality breaking ball, both skills that Matt Williams believes will make him a weapon out of the ‘pen:

detwiler curve k

THE BAD

 

— The Nationals’ likely Opening Day lineup did not exactly perform up to expectations tonight.  Rookie Houston starter Jarred Cosart effortly sliced through the order, making experienced major league veterans like Denard Span, Jayson Werth, and Bryce Harper look foolish.  He struck out nine batters in five perfect innings, allowing just two balls out of the infield.  In fact, the Nationals wouldn’t get their first hit until the sixth inning, when Anthony Rendon snuck a ground ball just past the diving Jonathan Singleton into right field:

rendon single first hitThe Nationals would manage four more hits in the game, but would fail to score.

THE UGLY

— Tyler Clippard had his first poor outing of the spring — he allowed his first run in Grapefruit League action, on a Jesus Guzman home run, in his sixth inning of work.  But the ugliest part of of Clippard’s outing was this fastball, which got away from him and made a beeline for the left hand of Astros’ top prospect Carlos Correa:
correa broken handOne can only hope that Correa, who hit .320 at Class-A Quad Cities as an 18-year old and is number 5 on Baseball America’s list of baseball’s top prospects, managed to escape injury.  And the early news is promising:

But if Correa, an otherworldly talent who could someday become the face of this franchise, were to be seriously injured during a meaningless Spring Training game, well that would truly be ugly.

The Nationals stay home tomorrow to face the Detroit Tigers for the third time in five games.  Max Scherzer will get the start for Detroit; the Nationals have not yet announced a starter.  The 1:05 game will not be televised, but can be heard on 1580 AM or MLB.com.

Sequestering the National Det

Coming into spring training, the Washington Nationals’ Opening Day rotation seemed all but decided.  Stephen Strasburg would start game one, to be followed in some order by Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, and 28-year old southpaw Ross Detwiler.  Of the five, Detwiler was the least sure thing — he suffered from a serious back injury in 2013, making only 13 starts (none after July 3rd) and putting up a mediocre 4.04 ERA.  But before the injury, Detwiler, a first-round pick in 2007 who had struggled early in his major league career, had seemingly realized his potential to become an above-average starter for a high-quality rotation.  In 2012, Detwiler’s only full season in the big leagues, he managed an impressive 3.40 ERA in more than 164 innings, utilizing a sinking fastball that averaged 92.7 MPH to post a groundball percentage over 50%.  Furthermore, in the fabled Game 4 of the 2012 NLDS, Detwiler put together a performance that ranks among the greatest starts in Nationals’ history:

The Nationals did not anoint Detwiler as the fifth starter heading into Spring Training, but it was assumed that if Detwiler could prove he was healthy, the job was his for the taking.  This spring, Detwiler’s statistics have not looked pretty — 5 earned runs in 7 innings pitched — but spring stats are often skewed (Detwiler has been working on his breaking pitches in his starts, which could affect his performance), and most importantly, he has shown no signs of being slowed by last year’s injury.

And yet, yesterday, manager Matt Williams announced he had made a startling decision — Ross Detwiler would not start the season in the rotation.  Instead, he will move to the bullpen.  Said Williams:

We feel like it’s a good move for our team. He provides something special out of the bullpen for us. I don’t know if anybody would ever be really happy with something like that. We don’t feel like it’s a demotion of any sort. We just feel like we’re a better team with him coming out of our bullpen. He offers something that’s special — power lefty, mid-90s lefty.

The fifth starter spot will now become an open competition between two young prospects, Taylor Jordan and Tanner Roark, and journeyman vet Chris Young.

After a little thought, it is easy to understand the rationale behind this move.  Detwiler has never really had the diverse repertoire of a starting pitcher.  Over the last two years, Detwiler has thrown his fastball 82.8% of the time — that’s second in the major leagues among starting pitchers (min. 200 IP), behind only Bartolo Colon.  Additionally, Detwiler’s peripheral statistics have never matched the success his ERA would denote.  For his career, Dewtiler has only struck out 5.4 batters per nine innings, which in an era dominated by strikeouts, is borderline unacceptable.  Even in 2012, his best season thus far, Detwiler fanned only 5.7 per nine as a starter, which ranked him 14th-worst (min. 150 IP).  Thanks to the low strikeout numbers, Detwiler’s fielding-independent statistics are considerably worse than his ERA; while his 3.40 ERA in 2012 is impressive, his 4.34 xFIP is considerably less so.

And both Roark and Jordan have looked impressive, both in the spring and in their major league call-ups in 2013.  Jordan, age 25, has the more impressive stuff — he has struck out 13 batters in 10 spring innings, including this one on a wipeout slider:Jordan Flores

Roark, meanwhile, had an eye-opening 2013 season that elevated him from organization depth to a possible key cog in the Nationals’ future.  After going 9-3 with a 3.15 ERA in 105.2 minor-league innings, the 27-year old Roark looked near-unhittable in 53.2 innings in the majors.  His 1.51 ERA is obviously unsustainable (Roark’s strikeout numbers were solid but unspectacular, and he benefitted from a 2.6% home run to fly ball ratio, lower than any qualified starter), but some of his numbers, especially his low walk rate, were very encouraging.  Roark has also looked strong in Spring Training, striking out six and allowing four runs in eight innings.

So what is Detwiler’s role in the bullpen?  More from Williams:

I see him as a power lefty out of the bullpen. If we get in a matchup where if we’ve got two out of three guys facing that inning are lefties, we can certainly use him for a full inning in that regard. We could also use him for multiple innings. I wouldn’t limit him to a lefty specialist role. I just think it’s a luxury for our team to have a guy in our bullpen who can do those types of things.

Detwiler profiles well as a lefty long reliever, with his endurance and experience as a starter likely enabling him to pitch multiple innings out of the bullpen.  One thing to watch out for: Detwiler has a pronounced platoon split (he has held left-handed batters to a .234/.314/.313 triple-slash, versus a .280/.336/.431 triple-slash against righties) which may make him more effective as a lefty specialist than as a long reliever.

Of course, this decision, while strong on paper, may not work out in practice.  Roark and Jordan may struggle at the major league level, and having an unreliable fifth starter is untenable for a team looking to make it to the postseason.  But the beauty of this decision is that it is easily reversible — if the chosen fifth starter struggles, Detwiler could easily slide back into the rotation.  As Williams said, “[this decision] doesn’t mean [Detwiler] won’t start at some point in the future.”

How to Fix Arizona’s Snake Bitten Rotation

20140317-144639.jpg
When a pitcher leaves with “forearm stiffness”, bad news usually follows. This was the case with Kris Medlen last week as he is staring straight at his second Tommy John surgery. So, when Diamondbacks young ace Patrick Corbin left his recent start with forearm stiffness, Diamondback fans’ hearts skipped a beat. The forearm stiffness diagnosis has led to UCL damage and inevitable Tommy John surgery. Although Tommy John surgery isn’t the pitching death sentence it once was, it does set a pitcher’s career as well as an organization’s future back twelve months. Fortunately for Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers, he has a 21 year old pitching phenom at his disposal.

Prior to Corbin’s injury, the Diamondbacks had a projected rotation of Corbin, Trevor Cahill, Wade Miley, Brandon McCarthy, and Bronson Arroyo with other options including Randall Delgado and Josh Collmenter. Yet, if the Diamondbacks want to make a splash in the NL West that includes the World Series contender Dodgers and other surprise contenders that coud include the Padres and Giants, the Diamondbacks replace Corbin with a more than capable option. Therefore, top prospect Archie Bradley seems to provide a high upside option that could catapult the Diamondbacks into an NL wildcard spot.

Archie Bradley was selected 7th overall out of high school by the Diamondbacks in 2011. Bradley has a prototypical pitching ace body standing at 6 feet 4 inches and weighing 225 pounds. He throws a mid-90’s fastball and a hard breaking knucklecurve. That deadly combination has given him the reputation as a future strikeout weapon at the big league level. Bradley is the prime prospect in the Diamondbacks organization and has the chance to be a star in the near future. The question is: Is Bradley the answer this year?

The Diamondbacks have three viable in-house options in Delgado, Collmenter, and Bradley. So, it seems unlikely Towers will search for a replacement outside the organization. Collmenter has been the Diamondbacks long reliever in recent years but has a career 4.03 ERA as a starter compared to a 2.51 ERA as a reliever. Delgado was the main prospect acquired from the Braves in the trade for Justin Upton. Yet, Delgado has not blossomed like fellow Braves pitching prospect Julio Teheran. Delgado may not be able to provide consistent quality starts to be a viable option. Bradley seems to have the most upside out of the three.

In Bradley’s first two spring training starts, he did not allow a run in 6.1 innings of work before allowing four runs in two innings against the Robinson Cano-led Mariners. Bradley has displayed his ability to get strikeouts so far with an 11.11 K/9 innings ratio.

Some say the Diamondbacks would benefit from waiting to bring up Bradley to delay his MLB service to push back free agency by a year. Some say the Diamondbacks would hinder Bradley’s development by rushing him and turning him into the next Trevor Bauer. Yet, Bradley is not the mental disaster that Bauer is and treading water for three months may not be the answer for Arizona. The Diamondbacks would like to avoid a third straight 81-81 season and make the jump to a division title. The Diamondbacks have a fairly shallow farm system that is sure to get thinner following the promotions of Bradley and top hitting prospect Chris Owings. The Diamondbacks window of contention is now and the promotion of Bradley to the rotation would surely turn an already above average pitching staff into an excellent one.

Bradley would provide the Diamondbacks with a big, towering, young arm that can get strikeouts and put fear into the minds of hitters. If he proves to be successful, he could provide an intriguing matchup to the likes of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Matt Cain within the division. Just like Jose Fernandez last year, Bradley could be the next fresh pitching prospect to break through and surprise early at the major league level. If Kevin Towers choses Bradley to replace Corbin, the future may arrive this spring in Arizona.