Arizona’s season can get worse, it turns out: Now stud pitching prospect Archie Bradley, who seemed to be on the verge of arriving in the majors, has been placed on the Triple-A disabled list with flexor strain in his elbow.
Officially the Diamondbacks are calling Bradley’s injury a “minor” strain, but the hard-throwing right-hander struggled for three straight starts before being shut down, allowing 12 runs in 12 innings while walking eight.
Bradley was the seventh overall pick in the 2011 draft and ranked as a consensus top-25 prospect in each of the past three seasons. Last season, at age 20, he threw 152 innings with a 1.84 ERA between Single-A and Double-A. But now general manager Kevin Towers won’t have to answer questions about why Bradley isn’t in the majors for a while.
Joe Maddon just held his annual media availability here at the Winter Meetings. During the scrum he said that Kyle Schwarber “looked great the other day” at a Cubs community event and that . . . wait for it . . . “he’s in, probably, arguably in the best shape of his life.” Maddon went on to say that, if Schwarber looks good in spring training, he might even be the Cubs leadoff hitter in 2018.
Schwarber is only 24, but the former catcher turned outfielder is going to spend most of his career as a DH, with another team obviously, unless he shows the Cubs that he can be a regular defender. The Cubs would love to see him in better shape whether they keep him or shop him, and if it’s the latter, they’ll want to show potential trade partners that he can play defense so as not to limit his market. It’s in everyone’s interests for him to be lean, mean and a bit more flexible once spring training starts.
To that end, according to a recent report, Schwarber “has been on a mission this offseason to transform his body.” And now Maddon is playing up the BSOHL angle. Whether that’s salesmanship or not, all eyes are going to be on Schwarber come February.