06/06/12 11:13 PM ET
D-backs' top two picks from 2011 impressing
Bauer was taken third overall, Bradley seventh
By Tyler Emerick / MLB.com
Such a rare opportunity, which grew even more unlikely to occur again due to new Draft rules, gave the club a chance to set up its Minor League system for both the immediate and long-term future.
The D-backs used their two high selections to draft right-handed pitchers Trevor Bauer at No. 3 and Archie Bradley No. 7.
Now one year later, both picks are showing why the club invested a large stake of its future in them.
After a long junior campaign at UCLA throwing 136 2/3 innings, Bauer finished his first, albeit limited, professional season with a 5.96 ERA with 43 strikeouts in 25 2/3 innings at Class A Visalia and Double-A Mobile.
So far this year at Mobile and Triple-A Reno, Bauer's numbers have made him the D-backs' most prized prospect in their system.
"He's taken to the pro game like a fish in water," D-backs scouting director Ray Montgomery said. "Trevor is uniquely advanced in terms of his approach, how he prepares and his pitching in general."
Bauer began 2012 at Double-A, winning seven of eight decisions and posting an ERA of 1.68 over 48 1/3 dominant innings. He struck out 60 batters while only allowing one home run.
His complete supremacy over opposing hitters in the Southern League prompted the D-backs front office to promote him to Reno in May.
Through four starts in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League thus far, Bauer is continuing to experience success at a mouth-watering pace for the organization. He is 2-0 over 25 innings with a 2.52 ERA and 31 strikeouts.
Combined over his 99 professional innings over the past two seasons, the 21-year-old has retired 134 outs on strikes. Bauer's prowess throughout the Minor Leagues has him close to joining the Majors at any time.
"He's on track, probably even a bit sooner than I would've thought," Montgomery said. "He's very well advanced."
While Bauer knocks on the doorstep of big league stardom, Bradley, who was taken out of high school in Oklahoma, is on a much slower, but not any less impressive pace.
After pitching in just two Rookie League games last season when he first signed with the D-backs, Bradley is now in his first full professional campaign at Class A Missoula. He has tossed 59 2/3 innings so far, boasting a 3.92 ERA and 56 strikeouts.
Opposing batters are hitting just .156 against the 19-year-old and on April 16 against Lansing, Bradley threw five hitless innings while punching out eight.
"He's had some missteps here and there, but I think he's responded incredibly and very maturely for his age," Montgomery said. "He's on track, he's doing well."
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com . This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.