Grading on the Curve: Grading Each MLB Team’s Top Prospect

Mar 8, 2016; Lakeland, FL, USA; An overall view of the game between the Detroit Tigers and theTampa Bay Rays during the sixth inning at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Before the 2016 MLB season is underway, we at Grading on the Curve wanted to provide grades for each MLB team’s top prospect.

With Spring Training underway, baseball’s top prospects are getting a taste of Big League camp. From the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Washington Nationals, each and every team hopes to get the most out of their top-rated prospect, with some teams hoping for production at the MLB level in 2016.

With baseball’s growing demand for strong farm systems, prospects carry incredible value, and in turn, MLB clubs are trying to harvest their talent, rather than acquire talent via free agency. Baseball is a tough game to predict, but let us take a look at each MLB team’s top prospect.

The discrepancy between elite and depleted farm systems is staggering, so take a look at which prospects received some of the highest and lowest grades.

Apr 11, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Archie Bradley (25) pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chase Field. The Diamondbacks won 6-0. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Diamondbacks: B-

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Archie Bradley

RHP, Muskogee, Oklahoma

Last season, Archie Bradley took the MLB by storm, out-pitching aces from around the league in his first few starts. The sky looked to be the limit for Arizona Diamondbacks ace Archie Bradley; however, shoulder fatigue and an injury from a comebacker resulted in Bradley only pitching in eight games, with 35.2 innings pitched.

Due to his abbreviated stint in the MLB last season, Archie Bradley enters the 2016 season with his rookie eligibility in-tact. Through Archie Bradley’s career, he has struggled with controlling his pitches, illustrated by a 4.7 career BB/9. Moreover, with the Arizona Diamondbacks last season, Bradley saw his BB/9 jump to 5.6, and his K/9 dropped to 5.8, leaving him with an unsightly 1.05 K/BB.

Heading into 2016, Archie Bradley hopes to trim down his free passes on the season and strikeout batters at a higher rate. With the Arizona Diamondbacks beefing up their starting rotation, Archie Bradley should slot in as the number five starter, which should bode well for him over the 2016 season. If Archie Bradley can find the strike zone on a more consistent basis, he should provide good value in the rotation.

Look for Bradley to build off of his taste of the Big Leagues. If the Arizona Diamondbacks want to make a playoff push, they will need production out of Bradley. Archie Bradley possesses the tools to be a frontline pitcher for the Diamondbacks in the future, but as of now, temper your expectation until he demonstrates better command of the strike zone.