CEDAR RAPIDS — He’s Archie Bradley. Keep that name in your memory book.
The 19-year-old South Bend Silver Hawks pitcher turned down a chance to play quarterback for the Oklahoma Sooners when he signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks last August minutes before the signing deadline. The D-Backs gave the seventh-overall pick in the 2011 MLB draft five million reasons to do so.
“I miss football a ton,” Bradley said after beating the Cedar Rapids Kernels, 5-3, Friday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium. “It was a little easier (last fall) because my brother is a linebacker for my old high-school team. Getting to watch him play and develop, he’s only a sophomore, kind of took some of the edge off. I still get those feelings, wanting to play and stuff, but I definitely made the right decision.”
Arizona’s happy with it.
Bradley, who is from Broken Arrow, Okla., has the size (6-foot-3, 220 pounds), requisite pure stuff (a low to mid-90s fastball, curveball and changeup) and smooth delivery you always look for. But what separates him from most teenagers is that he knows how to pitch.
“Isn’t he polished for a 19-year-old?” said South Bend Manager Mark Haley. “He’s a little different that way.”
Bradley (3-1) retired the first 15 Kernels before walking the bases loaded in the sixth and getting the hook. He has 14 walks in 26 innings this season, the only blemish on an otherwise impeccable ledger.
You can see this kid being on the fast track.
“I got out of rhythm and then kind of let it get into my head a little bit,” said Bradley, who has given up only nine hits in 28 professional innings. “Obviously I was happy with the first five. But like I said, that’s just the mental side of the game right there. Being young and letting one walk affect the rest of the at-bats. I’ve just got to work through it, know that I threw well and now I’ve just got to finish it up.”
Cedar Rapids (9-12) finished with one hit, an RBI bloop double down the right-field line by Ryan Jones in the sixth. Not good when you have three more errors in a game than hits.
The Kernels have lost 11 of 15 and complete this three-game series today at 5.
“Obviously when you’re losing, you’re not getting it done,” Kernels Manager Jamie Burke said. “But I do see the kids going out there and working, and they are getting better. This is a developmental part of their careers. The first time being under the lights. You’ve got to give these guys a couple of months to see what they can do, if they can handle this or not. This is a big jump for them. Obviously the pitching we have seen has been pretty solid so far.”
Especially Friday night.
Here is the game boxscore: