Chris Archer
Chris Archer
30-Year-Old PitcherSP
Pittsburgh Pirates
2019 Fantasy Outlook
The annual saga of Archer being trade bait ended in him being shipped off to Pittsburgh as the Pirates valued his contract more than any short-term gain. Some thought Archer needed a change of scenery as he had been overexposed to the American League East with nearly 50 percent of his career outings coming against his divisional foes. Archer had grown predictable with fastballs up and sliders down and away while rarely pitching inside. Pittsburgh got him to pitch down in the zone with his two-seamer while using the inner half of the plate more, but the results did not change. He enjoyed a slight bump in strikeout rate going to the NL, but the rest of his metrics were nearly identical to what he did in the American League. Last year was the fourth consecutive season in which Archer's ERA was worse than his FIP, and we should just come to grips with the fact while he can front a real rotation, he can't front a fantasy one. Read Past Outlooks
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$Signed a six-year, $25.5 million contract with the Rays in April of 2014. Traded to the Pirates in July of 2018. Contract includes $9 million team option ($1.75 million buyout) for 2020 and $11 million team option ($250,000 buyout) for 2021.
Falls apart in seventh
PPittsburgh Pirates
July 12, 2019
Archer allowed three runs on three hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts across six-plus innings during a no-decision against the Cubs on Friday.
The right-hander was magnificent through six frames, allowing zero runs and one hit, but he gave up a homer, single and walk without recording an out to start the seventh. Still, this was an encouraging sign from Archer, who struck out 10 for the first time this season. He is 3-6 with a 5.42 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and 98 strikeouts in 84.2 innings. Archer will pitch next at the Cardinals on Wednesday.
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Pitching Stats
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2017
Even Split
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2017vs Left .255 854 230 82 196 40 4 35
Since 2017vs Right .252 1007 279 70 230 47 2 32
2019vs Left .217 175 46 22 33 4 1 11
2019vs Right .269 196 52 21 45 7 0 10
2018vs Left .267 278 65 26 67 19 0 11
2018vs Right .268 360 97 23 88 20 1 8
2017vs Left .263 401 119 34 96 17 3 13
2017vs Right .232 451 130 26 97 20 1 14
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2017
ERA at Home
ERA at Home
ERA on Road
ERA at Home
Since 2017Home 3.74 1.26 214.1 9 11 0 10.6 3.0 1.1
Since 2017Away 5.08 1.41 219.2 10 15 0 10.5 3.3 1.6
2019Home 4.04 1.39 49.0 3 3 0 9.0 4.6 2.0
2019Away 7.32 1.49 35.2 0 3 0 12.4 4.5 2.5
2018Home 4.33 1.36 60.1 1 2 0 9.5 2.7 0.9
2018Away 4.30 1.39 88.0 5 6 0 10.0 3.2 1.3
2017Home 3.26 1.13 105.0 5 6 0 12.0 2.4 0.9
2017Away 4.97 1.40 96.0 5 6 0 10.2 3.0 1.6
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Stat Review
How does Chris Archer compare to other starting pitchers?
This section compares his stats with all starting pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 120 innings)*. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.

* Exit Velocity, Barrels/BBE %, Balls Hit 95+ MPH %, and Spin Rate are benchmarked against this season's data (min 70 IP). See here for more exit velocity/barrels stats plus an explanation of current limitations with that data set.
  • K/BB
    Strikeout to walk ratio.
  • K/9
    Average strikeouts per nine innings.
  • BB/9
    Average walks per nine innings.
  • HR/9
    Average home runs allowed per nine innings.
  • Fastball
    Average fastball velocity.
  • ERA
    Earned run average. The average earned runs allowed per nine innings.
  • WHIP
    Walks plus hits per inning pitched.
    Batting average on balls in play. Measures how many balls in play against a pitcher go for hits.
  • GB/FB
    Groundball to flyball ratio. The higher the number, the more likely a pitcher is to induce groundballs.
  • Left On Base
    The percentage of base runners that a pitcher strands on base over the course of a season.
  • Exit Velocity
    The speed of the baseball as it comes off the bat, immediately after a batter makes contact.
  • Barrels/BBE
    The percentage of batted ball events resulting in a Barrel. A Barrel is a batted ball with similar exit velocity and launch angle to past ones that led to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage.
  • Spin Rate
    Spin Rate is the rate of spin on a baseball after it is released. It is measured in revolutions per minute (rpm).
  • Balls Hit 95+ MPH
    The percentage of batted balls hit that met or exceeded the 95 MPH threshold.
  • Swinging Strike
    The percentage of pitches that result in a swing and a miss.
93.9 mph
Left On Base
Exit Velocity
90.3 mph
Spin Rate
2270 rpm
Balls Hit 95+ MPH
Swinging Strike
Advanced Pitching Stats
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Defensive Stats
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Stats Vs Today's Lineup
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Even with Archer having surpassed 30 starts in four straight seasons, with great numbers to boot, some in the fantasy community remain concerned that he won't hold up. Is time running out on his arm? It's not a ridiculous question given the extreme slider usage (44.4 percent last season) and the velocity at which he throws the pitch (88.9 percent). He also fizzled late in 2017 with a 7.48 ERA and five homers allowed in September, but Archer was better than his surface stats throughout most of the year, with his xFIP ranging from 2.48 to 3.33 from May through August. The right-hander wasn't as good the third time through the order and that could hurt his chances at wins moving forward if he's given the hook earlier on a more consistent basis, but his core skills are borderline elite (11.2 K/9, 2.7 BB/9). There is risk as is inherent with all pitchers; however, the questions about Archer specifically are pure speculation seeing as he's been extremely durable to this point in his career.
Archer's one-of-a-kind 2016 campaign included career-highs in losses (19) and homers surrendered (30), but also his second-highest strikeout total (233) and two starkly contrasting halves. His improvement virtually across the board after the All-Star break certainly gave the Rays and fantasy owners hope that the first three-plus months of the season were an extreme outlier for the 28-year-old, who also was victimized by a lack of run support from an anemic offense in several of his defeats. While the long-ball issues were certainly a concern, they too tailed off in the latter portion of the campaign, with his HR/9 rate dropping from 1.47 to 1.18 after the All-Star break. By season's end, Archer had tallied a double-digit K/9 rate (10.4) for the second consecutive campaign and dropped his ERA to a respectable 4.02. Many of the slightly elevated metrics that the hard-throwing righty finished with were largely composed of remnants of his disastrous first half.
Archer only dropped 0.10 off of his ERA from 2014 and yet it was widely regarded as a breakout season because his strikeout rate surged to a career-best 29 percent (fifth-best among qualified starters) in 212 innings, also a new best. Plus, he spent the majority of the season in the 2.00s before his second-to-last start saw him get beat up for nine earned runs in Toronto, a team he dominated to that point. The key to his success all year was further reliance on his elite slider. He threw it 39 percent of the time, second-most in baseball behind only Tyson Ross (42%). The concern at that volume is potential injury, but Archer has been DL-free for three-plus seasons in the bigs. The elements are all there for more excellence: he misses bats, gets more groundballs than flyballs, handles rights and lefties, and has shown he can take 30-plus turns in a season more than once. These skills have a high floor, too, so even some regression won’t ruin him.
Archer showed some growth from year one to year two. His strikeout rate went up and he showed more confidence in his changeup, but he’s not a finished product. His walk rate rose nearly two percentage points from 2013, but he was able to control some of that damage by doing a better job of keeping the ball in the yard. He went at least seven innings in just nine of his 32 outings as pitch efficiency can be a problem for him as someone who works with fastballs and sliders nearly 95% of the time. The strikeouts and the ratios are good, but one area where he needs to improve is controlling the running game as runners are 31 of 40 in stealing bases when he is on the mound. He has the ceiling to be a No. 2 starter, but he performs more like a No. 3 starter these days.
Archer began the 2013 season with Triple-A Durham before receiving the call to join the Rays' rotation at the start of June. He struggled a bit initially, then turned on the gas and rattled off a fantastic season, finishing with a 9-7 record and 3.22 ERA in 23 starts that included two shutouts. He showed solid control with a 2.66 K/BB ratio, displaying a dazzling fastball that averaged about 95 mph and a hard slider to keep opposing offenses off balance. A finalist for the AL Rookie of the Year Award, Archer established himself in the rotation for 2014 and will be a pitcher to pursue on draft day.
Still a top pitching prospect for the Rays, Archer posted a solid season in 2012 between Triple-A Durham and the majors. At Triple-A, Archer he posted a 3.66 ERA in 25 starts and struck out 139 batters. He is very good at preventing the long ball, only allowing 0.4 HR/9. This is likely due to a solid fastball and hard slider he keeps down in the zone to prevent extra-base hits. Archer made two starts for the Rays in June before returning as a September callup and saw mixed success, but plenty of promise. He will be in the competition for a spot in the major league rotation in spring training and will be a key part in the future.
One of the pieces in the Matt Garza deal, Archer pitched the majority of last season at Double-A Montgomery before getting a cup of coffee with Triple-A Durham. The young hurler features a sinker in the low-90s and a developing curve and slider. The problem with him has been his lack of control as the 130:86 K:BB rate over the two levels indicates. He's likely headed back to Durham to start the season and should get plenty of minor league time to work on his control considering the glut of starting pitching the Rays have in front of him.
Archer pitched well at High-A and Double-A last season, using a low-90s sinker in combination with a solid slider and curve. He struck out more than a batter per inning at the two levels combined and allowed just six homers in 142.1 IP, thanks to that sinker. Archer could stand to improve his command - 39 walks in 70 Double-A innings - but he's still just 22 years old and has some promise as a middle-of-the-rotation starter. Expect him to start in the high minors with a big league debut in late 2011 or 2012, but the Rays have little reason to rush him after acquiring him as part of the Matt Garza deal with the Cubs in January.
More Fantasy News
Strikes out eight in no-decision
PPittsburgh Pirates
July 3, 2019
Archer recorded eight strikeouts and allowed three runs on five hits and three walks across five innings in a no-decision against the Cubs on Wednesday.
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Will start Wednesday
PPittsburgh Pirates
July 2, 2019
Archer (hip) confirmed that he'll be ready to make his next scheduled start Wednesday against the Cubs, Adam Berry of reports.
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Questionable for next start
PPittsburgh Pirates
June 29, 2019
Archer still feels discomfort in his left hip and will be re-evaluated Monday, John Perrotto of reports.
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Pulled with hip discomfort
PPittsburgh Pirates
June 28, 2019
Archer was pulled as a precaution from Friday's game against the Brewers with left hip discomfort. He gave up two runs on three hits and two walks while striking out six in four innings, and is on the hook for the loss.
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Next start pushed back
PPittsburgh Pirates
June 23, 2019
Archer won't start Thursday's game at Houston, Adam Berry of reports.
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