Every player’s draft story is a special one, and in the case of Archie Bradley, he had a few wrinkles in his that made his draft day experience especially unique.
Bradley was a top prep pitching prospect in the 2011 draft class out of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, a suburb of Tulsa. His long-time friend Dylan Bundy was also up to be drafted.
It wouldn’t take long before both heard their names called.
“Fourth pick in, Dylan Bundy goes fourth overall to the Orioles,” Bradley said.
“I’m sitting there wondering how long until I go, not really knowing anything concrete. Then three picks later, the Diamondbacks pick me. At the time, Commissioner (Bud) Selig, to see him come live on TV and say my name…and realizing what just happened was a very surreal moment.”
Bradley certainly earned a top-10 pick in the draft, sporting a 0.29 ERA, giving up just three earned runs in 71.1 innings and striking out 137 batters.
But he was also a top quarterback recruit and committed to play at the University of Oklahoma.
Bradley says he was “just” a three-star recruit, but he also appeared in the 2010 Elite 11, a competition between some of the top quarterbacks in the nation.
Along with Teddy Bridgewater, Cody Kessler, Everett Golson and Kendal Thompson and in front of camp counselors Kirk Cousins, Andy Dalton, Blaine Gabbert and Tyrod Tayler, Bradley was named “Most likely to be a pro athlete.”
Forward thinking by the Elite 11 crew.
Now, it came down to whether Bradley would pursue baseball or football.
“My mom grew up in education, she was an English teacher and then a principal for a long time so education was very strong in my household. It just came down to the end financially and maturity-wise I was ready to go play baseball.”
Fast forward to 2017 and Bradley has transitioned from the starting rotation to the bullpen and has been one of the Diamondbacks’ most consistent arms, holding a 1.26 ERA and striking out 35 in 28.2 innings.
Even six years since being drafted, Bradley uses lessons he learned on the football field.
“(It’s) huge,” Bradley said. “All the footwork and drills and even the way you think. I think pitching and playing quarterback are similar in the way you think and attack. The ball is in your hands so you decide what to do with it.”