Broken Arrow native Archie Bradley left Thursday for spring training with the Arizona Diamondbacks. After a very strong minor league season last year, he has a chance to start 2014 in the big leagues.
Bradley says he is comfortable and confident heading into his third spring training.
"This year I kind of feel like I have everything down," Bradley explained. "I knew what to do this offseason, I knew how to train, I knew how to prepare, and I just really feel like I'm ready going into this season."
Bradley knows hopes are high. He was the seventh overall pick in the 2011 MLB draft, and was named baseball's top right-handed pitching prospect by MLB.com. Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers has told multiple media outlets that Bradley is a candidate to make the starting rotation out of spring training.
"It's definitely a good feeling to hear your club talking about bringing you up and pitching in the big leagues, and hearing all the media talk about it, I think it just drove me more," Bradley said.
He's earned the hype. Bradley was third in the minors last year with 14 wins and a 1.84 ERA, but he knows there's still room for improvement.
"As big of strides as I made this season, there's still a lot of things I need to go into spring training and fix," Bradley said. "I feel like if I can throw a changeup and consistently throw strikes with it, then I'll give myself a good chance to pitch in the big leagues."
Bradley led Broken Arrow to a state championship during his senior year in 2011. He says what he learned in high school started all his success.
"Coach Dobson here, Coach Chambers, all the coaches here open up this facility to me, let me come in and work out, I get to be with some kids who were freshmen when I was a senior and kind of get to mentor them, and they push me just as much as I push them."
From Broken Arrow, to the big leagues. The dream could come true in just a few weeks.