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Forget prospect tag and make Bradley an ace

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Posted: Thursday, March 20, 2014 12:06 am

One of the best things about spring training is getting a chance to see prospects long before they reach the big leagues.

I’m in Cubs camp a lot for a freelance gig and they have seven of Baseball America’s top 100 prospects in the game so there is a lot to see.

Javier Baez, a shortstop who hit a combined 37 home runs (and had 44 errors) in Single-A and Double-A, last year is the latest next big thing.

Of course about 15 lockers down from Baez is Brett Jackson, who once was the top prospect and is now a bit of a forgotten man after failing to produce the projected level most scouts expected.

So you never know how a prospect pans out.

That brings me to the Diamondbacks’ Archie Bradley.

If the reports on Patrick Corbin are as bad as expected – say hello to fellow left-hander Tommy John – then go with Bradley in the rotation.

Randall Delgado is a fifth starter for a reason. Josh Collmenter is invaluable as a long man or spot started. The other four – Wade Miley, Bronson Arroyo, Trevor Cahill and Brandon McCarthy – are a bunch of three and four starters.

Bradley could be special.

His stuff is going to transfer to the big leagues. And he is better mentally prepared than Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh, meaning he is not a million dollar arm with a 10 cent head as the fictional character was described in Bull Durham.

Give him a shot regardless of how he does in the exhibition game in Australia. Ride him out unlike the quick hook that was given to Trevor Bauer before the eventual trade to Cleveland.

The team lost its ace.

Don’t replace Corbin by giving up more prospects – one of the shortstops most likely – when trading without much leverage.

Let one of the game’s top pitching prospects grow. Chances are he was going to see big-league time this year anyway. Give him the ball.

Watch him shed the prospect tag. And possibly take on new one. Team ace.

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Jskoda@ahwatukee.cim. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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