08/16/11 2:22 AM ET
D-backs sign first-round Draft pick Bradley
High school right-hander went 12-1 with 0.29 ERA this season
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
So the 19-year-old prep right-hander, a first-round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, chose to sign with the D-backs rather than accept a football scholarship to the University of Oklahoma. The deal is worth $5 million, which will be spread over five years because Bradley is a two-sport player.
"It was a very difficult decision, especially with a program like Oklahoma," Bradley said. "It's hard to really choose the wrong direction, but I think everyone knows my first love is baseball, and that's what it came down to. Obviously money was a factor, but it came down to what I thought was best for my future and what I saw myself doing in the long term and what I love to do. As much as I love football, baseball has always been first. I've played it since I was four years old. I just feel like that's where my future is, that's where God has plans for me to go, and it was really too good for me to turn down."
The D-backs would not have gotten any compensation in next year's Draft had they not signed Bradley, because the pick they used to select him was compensation for not signing 2010 first-round pick Barret Loux.
With Bradley in the fold, the D-backs, whose Draft efforts were led by senior vice president of scouting and player development Jerry Dipoto and scouting director Ray Montgomery, were extremely pleased with their haul, which included the Nos. 3 and 7 overall selections as well as a supplemental first-round selection.
"I am so proud of Jerry and Ray," D-backs team president and CEO Derrick Hall said. "This may very well end up being the most successful Draft in the history of our franchise, when we needed it most. They had a strategy and loaded our farm system with talent that could potentially have a positive and sustainable impact on our team for years to come."
The D-backs took UCLA right-hander Trevor Bauer with the No. 3 overall pick and he has already made four starts, the last one coming for Double-A Mobile.
"We're thrilled to have added the caliber of talent that we added," Montgomery said. "The idea coming into this with the third and seventh pick was to add some impact to the organization. I really believe we did that. We accomplished our goal."
Bradley was 12-1 with a 0.29 ERA in leading Broken Arrow High School to the Oklahoma 6A state championship this year. He can touch 96 mph with his fastball, throws a power curve and a changeup and has plus command.
Despite his youth, Bradley was considered one of the most polished high school pitchers in the Draft.
Bradley took a couple weeks off at the end of his high school season, but has since been playing long toss as well as throwing bullpens and simulated games.
"As far as how my arm feels and my body feels, I'm ready to get back on that mound and throw a couple innings," he said.
In the next couple of days, the D-backs plan to bring Bradley to Arizona, where he will begin working out at the team's Salt River Fields complex. Dipoto said the team hoped to get Bradley a few appearances in the rookie-level Arizona League before he participates in the team's Fall Instructional League.
"This has been a really good year for us, we're thrilled with the way it's worked out so far, and like Archie's about to find out, now we do the hard work," Dipoto said. "We get him on the journey and start moving guys through the Minor Leagues toward the ultimate goal."