With Rays RHP Zach Eflin headed to the IL, top pitching prospect Taj Bradley has been summoned to replace him on the Tampa roster. The 22-year-old is set to make his Major League debut on April 12 against Chris Sale and the Red Sox, and here’s a look at what Rays fans can expect from the young right-hander.
A Look at Bradley
After a strong 2022 campaign, it was only a matter of time before Rays right-handed pitching prospect Taj Bradley made it up to the Majors. Last year between Montgomery (AA) and Durham (AAA), Bradley struck out 141 batters over 133.1 innings, and batters only hit .213 against the 22-year-old.
Bradley did a very solid job of holding his own in the upper Minors, one year after his breakout 2022 between A and A+. After the return to play in the Minors, Bradley owned a very impressive 1.83 ERA over 103.1 innings, along with a .93 WHIP. Much of his success over the past two seasons could be attributed to his fastball that has seen an uptick in velocity as he’s gotten older. Bradley now sits in the mid-to-upper 90s with his heater.
Additionally, he owns a cutter/slider that MLB.com graded as a 60 in the 20-80 scale, as well as a good split-change and a change-of-pace curveball.
The young right-hander — one of our top fantasy rookie prospects for 2023 — displayed solid control overall while in the Minors. Now, he’ll look to take his talents to a Rays team that started the season a perfect 10-0.
A Look at the Rays
There’s been very little to complain about with the Rays’ start to the 2023 season. Tampa’s offense has clicked, while both LHP Jeffrey Springs and Drew Rasmussen have looked like candidates for the 2023 AL Cy Young award. Through the Rays’ first 10 games of 2023, Tampa owned a 1.73 team ERA and batters hit just .148 against the team’s pitching staff. Both figures were tops in the Majors, and the Rays team ERA was nearly a full point better than the second-best ERA (2.63) of the league owned by the Twins.
Bradley will join a group that’s actually somewhat depleted, as both Zach Eflin — whom Bradley will replace on the Rays roster — and Tyler Glasnow are on the IL. Pitching depth is key nowadays, and the Rays have plenty of it. Bradley is part of that depth, but he’s expected to be a key part of the team’s future. But for now, the Rays will ask him to hold down Eflin’s spot in the interim.