MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks Spring Training Questions
The Arizona Diamondbacks pitchers and catchers will report for Spring Training at Salt River Fields on February 6th, with their first workout the next day. The position players will report on February 11th, with the first full team workout the following day. Once again the workouts will be open to the public.
The Diamondbacks’ first Spring Training game will be on Wednesday, February 26th at 1:10pm against the LA Dodgers at Salt River Fields.
The Diamondbacks open Spring Training early due to the two regular season games they will play March 22nd and 23rd in Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground. These games will be the first MLB games to be played in Australia and will be considered home games for the Diamondbacks.
The Diamondbacks have some key questions going into Spring Training, not the least of which is who will be their backup catcher. Will Tuffy Gosewisch win the job? Will the team consider 42-year-old Henry Blanco? Or one of the following non-roster Spring Training invitees, Blake Lalli, Bobby Wilson or Steven Rodriguez backup Miguel Montero?
Next, who wins the starting shortstop job, Didi Gregorius or Chris Owings? Could minor league shortstop Nick Ahmed have an outstanding spring training and the Diamondbacks decide to keep him over veteran Cliff Pennington?
There will also be several pitching battles for both starting and relieving jobs. Do Trevor Cahill and Brandon McCarthy get starting jobs? Does Randall Delgado move to the bullpen? How does Addison Reed fit in if J.J. Putz is not traded and is the team’s closer this season?
The player that will be the most intriguing during Spring Training is pitcher Archie Bradley. The Diamondbacks are so high on Bradley that he was not included in any off-season trades or even trade talk. The question is will Bradley finish Spring Training with a position in the Diamondbacks’ starting rotation?
Bradley was drafted with the seventh overall pick in the 2011 draft out of high school in Oklahoma. He pitched for Middle Class A South Bend, striking out 152 batters in 136 innings in 2012. He then started 2013 at High Class A Visalia, before being promoted to Double A Mobile. In 26 minor league starts last year, Bradley went 14-5 with a 1.84 ERA and his fastball was consistently at 95 MPH. In addition to his fastball, he throws an above average curve and will be working on his changeup. That should give him three quality major league pitches.
The Diamondbacks have five starting pitchers ready to go now and if they manage to sign Masahiro Tanaka, Matt Garza or a possible trade for Yovani Gallardo, Bradley would have to have an amazing Spring Training season for him to make the team.
Look for Bradley to start out at AAA Reno and if another starter struggles or gets injured, he will be called up to help the team. Brandon McCarthy or Trevor Cahill, if they make the team, will be the players that will be closely watched and who could, if they struggle, give Bradley his shot at the Big Leagues.
I hope to see you at Salt River Fields during the Diamondbacks 2014 Spring Training season.
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