If you're not a D-backs fan or from the general vicinity of Broken Arrow, Okla., you may have never heard of Archie Bradley.
You probably will soon.
The 6-foot-4 pitcher started his season at Class A Advanced Visalia, but he was promoted to the Double-A Mobile BayBears after posting a 1.26 ERA through his first five starts. In Mobile, Bradley has gone 8-5 with a 2.10 ERA in 17 starts, and he may be knocking on the door for a callup to Arizona.
When that happens, Bradley will have his knuckle curve -- which has helped him notch 143 strikeouts in 131 2/3 innings -- to thank.
"I'm just aggressive," Bradley said of his pitching style. "I attack hitters. I throw the changeup every now and then, but I'm going to attack guys with the fastball and just try to get ahead."
Bradley is not just the talk of the town back in Broken Arrow for baseball. The former high school baseball and football player gives back, too. When a series of tornadoes ravaged homes in his home state of Oklahoma, Bradley stepped up to help in a big way.
Bradley started his own relief effort to help victims rebuild, selling a signed pair of his pink Mother's Day cleats on eBay and collecting a variety of other items from fellow athletes to put on the auction block.
"It's been really neat [to make a difference]," Bradley said. "My home state affected like that, to see those families go through something like that, it's been heartbreaking."
Bradley is just as modest when it comes to his actions on the field. For example, Bradley was one of the select prospects picked to play in the Futures Game at Citi Field in New York in July.
"I think it makes you realize how close you are to the big leagues. We're at Citi Field, a big league field, and are playing with guys that are going to play in the big leagues this year," Bradley said. "But we still have a long way to go, so you just have to keep working."
Despite his humility, Bradley just may be one of those Futures Game players who will get a call to the big leagues -- he certainly made his case at the Futures Game, making quick work of three straight batters.
"It's just one of those things I try not to think about," Bradley said. "If it happens, it'll happen. I'm just going to keep pitching and keep worrying about my business down in Double-A. If something goes down, then so be it.
"I think I'll be ready for it, but I'm just going to keep pitching."
Meggie Zahneis, winner of the 2011 Breaking Barriers essay contest, earned the job of youth correspondent for MLB.com in the fall of '11. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less