Arizona pitching prospect Archie Bradley got off to such a good start in the California League this season, there was very little for him left to prove in Visalia.
On Thursday, the first-rounder got the chance to see how he stacks up against stiffer competition in the Southern League. The initial indication is that he'll be able to hold his own.
Arizona's No. 2 prospect struck out seven batters and allowed one run on four hits and two walks over six innings in his Double-A debut Thursday as host Mobile beat Huntsville, 3-1, in the first game of what was scheduled to be a doubleheader.
The game was set to go seven innings, but it was called with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning following further rain. The second game of the twinbill was moved to Friday.
"If you ask any player, they will say they want to play at the next level," said Bradley, who spent Wednesday's Visalia game in the stands charting, as he does two days before every start. "I wouldn't say I had the California League figured out, but I was confident in myself and how I was throwing.
"I wasn't expecting [the promotion]. I wasn't thinking, 'When are they going to move me up?' After [Wednesday's] game, the manager said, 'Archie, I'd like to see you.' I closed the door and he told me there was no way to hide it and that I was going to Mobile. My teammates were screaming, 'Bye-bye' and 'See ya.' I was caught off guard, but it was a great feeling."
Selected seventh overall in the 2011 Draft, Bradley threw 57 of 94 pitches for strikes and he induced seven ground balls in his debut with the BayBears. He said all three pitches -- fastball, curveball, changeup -- were working, but he said rather than knowing he needs to work on his changeup, his brief experience at the new level reinforced the fact that he needs to be able to throw it.
The Oklahoma native worked around a two-out walk in the first inning, but he was not as fortunate in the second when Rene Tosoni and Robinzon Diaz hit consecutive doubles to plate a run.
"Both at-bats I made bad pitches," admitted Bradley, who said the slippery mound made it feel like he was pitching in tennis shoes. "The first one, I had the guy 0-2 and tried to throw a fastball up in the zone and threw it down the middle. I just missed my spot. The next guy I got down 3-0 and tried to throw a pitch to get back in the at-bat. I threw it right down the middle and he was ready to swing.
"But any time you come away with a win, it's a good thing. It was wet and raining and the field was not in a good shape, but I was pumped up and I had the adrenalin going."
He allowed the leadoff hitter to reach base in the third and forth innings, but he retired eight of the final nine batters to finish strong. The only hit Bradley allowed after the third frame was Kentrail Davis' infield single in the sixth, but Bradley stranded him in scoring position.
The 6-foot-4 right-hander made five starts with Class A Advanced Visalia prior to Wednesday's promotion, going 2-0 with a 1.26 ERA. He struck out 43 batters and issued 10 walks in 28 2/3 innings .
On Thursday, Mobile leadoff hitter Ender Inciarte went 2-for-2 with a solo homer, a walk and two runs scored, and second baseman Mike Freeman and first baseman Jon Griffin each chipped in an RBI.
Huntsville starter Jimmy Nelson (3-1) allowed three runs on six hits and a walk while striking out five batters over 5 1/3 innings.