Scouting Notes: Bradley, Crick Bring The Heat

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz - Covering minor league spring training, to say the least, can be unpredictable. So, when you have the chance to see two high quality young arms on adjacent fields it's a special occasion. On Tuesday, I scouted such an event, as DBacks' prospect Archie Bradley pitched in the High-A game and Giants' prospect, Kyle Crick pitched in the Low-A matchup between the two organizations.

Bradley Looking Like True Ace

If Archie Bradley can show anything close to what he showed on Monday afternoon in Scottsdale throughout the 2012 season, then it appears as if he's poised to be in the conversation for best pitching prospect in baseball. That's how impressive he was in his three inning outing against the Giants' High-A squad.

Bradley's ability coming out of high school was no secret, so it's certainly not surprising that he'd look this impressive. But, he's already made some outstanding improvements to his game. The tall, powerfully built right-hander now appears more comfortable than ever with his changeup. Throwing it at 83-86 mph, Bradley showed an outstanding feel for his third pitch and received some high praise for it from the coaching staff as he exited the game.

Now that the Diamondbacks' star pitching prospect appears to have fully mastered a third pitch, it only helps highlight how good the rest of his game is. Bradley also flashed his hard, plus curveball on Tuesday, showing an ability to spot it even behind in counts.

It is, however, still Bradley's free and easy, explosive velocity that makes him a potentially special frontline type starter. Bradley worked at 94-96 mph with his fastball, showing very little effort and a smooth follow through in doing so. He was also very aggressive in pounding the edges of the zone with it.

Weighing his workhorse frame, electric fastball-curveball combination, low effort delivery, and his now quality changeup and it's difficult to find things not to like about Bradley. He's as good as you're going to find in terms of young pitching.

Crick Shows Explosive Fastball

The Giants' took Crick 49th overall in last year's draft, and given their recent track of record of cultivating young pitching, they have to be thrilled with what this young righty gives them to work with. He's no Archie Bradley in terms of secondary pitches, but his strong frame, power fastball, and decent delivery make him a highly intriguing blank slate for the Giants to mold.

Right now, Crick is mostly a fastball pitcher. And, it's one powerful fastball. Crick reached 96 mph on Tuesday and sat steadily at 93-95. There's also a great deal of heavy life on the fastball and it showed in the number of broken bats on Tuesday afternoon. On it's own, it's a dominant pitch in which he can miss bats with and continue to break bats.

As good as the fastball is, the curveball and changeup lag behind. Crick flashed some hard breaking curveballs in warmups but mostly avoided using it in his outing. He did, however, mixed in a handful of changeups at 85-88 mph. It's not going to be a dominant pitch, but he did spot it fairly well.

What Crick represents is somewhat of a long term project. His delivery, his fastball command, and his raw velocity are all there but his secondary pitches need some cultivating. And, there's not much of a reason to be believe he won't continue to develop.

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