Top prospect Archie Bradley should be promoted to the big league club, his agent Jay Franklin tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Arizona GM Kevin Towers denied that the 21-year-old was being held down over service-time considerations.
"I think it's very apparent what is going on in Arizona," said Franklin. "Every ballplayer that is playing minor league baseball works his tail off to get an opportunity to play in the big leagues. Archie Bradley has proven to the Diamondbacks organization that he has deserved that opportunity by keeping his mouth shut and letting his numbers speak for his chance to pitch in the major leagues."
Of course, it is well accepted by observers that teams do (and should) consider MLB service time in determining when to promote top prospects. Here at MLBTR, we just broke down the timing issues for some of the best prospects around the league who could be brought to the bigs this year.
For Bradley, who is for some the top-rated pitching prospect who has yet to see MLB action, an appearance on the big league roster before the end of the month would cost Arizona the opportunity to control him for an additional season. Likewise, avoiding Super Two status (and with it an additional year of arbitration eligiblity) would require the club to hold Bradley out until some time between mid-May and early June, depending upon how this year's league-wide promotions shake out. The benefits to the team of adding control and lowering cost, of course, can come with a countervailing effect on the player (assuming, at least, that there would be no harm to the player's development — a highly subjective consideration).
For multiple reasons, clubs are loath to say that their determinations are based upon such considerations. For a Diamondbacks team that has had injury and performance issues in its rotation in the season's early going, there has been widespread speculation as to whether the team would call up Bradley.
But Towers said that he has legitimate baseball reasons not to go to the hyped young righty at this point. He cited two primary considerations in an interview with Rosenthal: the desire to avoid undue pressure in the middle of a tough start for the team, and the fact that Bradley struggled toward the end of the spring. "If it gets to the point where we straighten this thing out and it's a more positive environment here and he's throwing the ball well," said Towers, "we'll do it regardless of the clock."
On the whole, it seems quite unlikely that Franklin has an actionable complaint (or that he has any such intention). It is, after all, quite common for outstanding young players to experience just this situation. But for a player who many expect to turn into a top-line starter, this early relationship issue — Rosenthal describes it as a "spar" between agent and GM — will certainly be worth watching as time goes on.