Archie Bradley will be an Ace. But it will be in Reno, not in Phoenix.
The D-backs announced they have reassigned their top prospect to Minor League camp Thursday, ending Bradley's bid for the fifth spot in Arizona's rotation. Randall Delgado will instead join the rotation.
Bradley was coming off a stellar 2013 campaign. The right-hander posted a 1.26 ERA with 43 strikeouts and 10 walks in 28 2/3 innings at Class A Advanced Visalia before the D-backs promoted him to Double-A Mobile. He also dominated the more advanced bats of the Southern League, putting up a 1.97 ERA with 119 strikeouts and 59 walks in 123 1/3 frames at the level.
The 21-year-old was initially slated to start the year with Triple-A Reno, but Patrick Corbin's elbow problems, which eventually led to season-ending surgery this week, opened up a spot at the back end of the D-backs rotation.
Bradley proved inconsistent in Cactus League play with two scoreless outings at the outset and a difficult start at the end during which he surrendered four earned runs on five hits and two walks over two innings. He struggled again in an exhibition Down Under, giving up three runs on six hits in 3 2/3 innings during a 5-0 loss to Team Australia.
Given those results, Arizona decided that its prized farmhand could use more seasoning before he makes his Major League debut, undoubtedly at some point in 2014.
"He's close," said D-backs manager Kirk Gibson. "He's someone who can help us this year."
Bradley seemed to take the move in stride, confident that if he can come close to replicating his 2013 numbers in the Pacific Coast League, he'll be up with the big club sooner rather than later.
"All it comes down to is playing baseball and that's what's going to get me back up here," he said.