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
$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.
Healthy heading into spring
PPittsburgh Pirates
January 28, 2019
Archer (hernia), who started throwing several weeks ago, is expected to participate in his normal spring training routine, DK Pittsburgh Sports reports.
He began his offseason throwing program New Year's Day, the same day as he has throughout his career. "I don't start throwing 100 percent until midway through spring training, so I have plenty of time before I really need to step on it," he said. Archer, who underwent bilateral hernia surgery in late November, pitched in pain after initially heading for the disabled list in early June. After a less-than-healthy 10-game stint with Pittsburgh following a trade-deadline deal, look for the 30-year-old to rebound from a mediocre 4.31 ERA and 1.38 WHIP (in 148.1 innings) in 2018.
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Pitching Stats
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2016
Even Split
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2016vs Left .252 1089 298 94 248 52 4 39
Since 2016vs Right .247 1251 346 82 283 57 3 37
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
2016vs Left .231 410 114 34 85 16 1 15
2016vs Right .244 440 119 33 98 17 1 15
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2016
ERA at Home
ERA on Road
ERA at Home
ERA at Home
Since 2016Home 3.27 1.18 267.1 9 18 0 11.0 2.7 0.9
Since 2016Away 4.92 1.38 283.1 16 21 0 10.1 3.0 1.6
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
2016Home 2.65 1.13 102.0 3 10 0 10.9 3.0 0.9
2016Away 5.44 1.36 99.1 6 9 0 10.0 3.0 1.8
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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.
94.7 mph
Strand %
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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
Undergoes surgery Tuesday
PPittsburgh Pirates
November 27, 2018
Archer (groin) underwent surgery to repair a bilateral hernia Tuesday, Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic reports.
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Won't start Sunday
PPittsburgh Pirates
September 27, 2018
Archer will not make his final scheduled start Sunday against the Reds due to left groin discomfort, Adam Berry of reports.
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Six shutout innings in win over Cubs
PPittsburgh Pirates
September 26, 2018
Archer (6-8) tossed six shutout innings Monday to earn the win over the Cubs, allowing four hits and two walks with nine strikeouts.
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Dominates Royals in win
PPittsburgh Pirates
September 19, 2018
Archer (5-8) picked up the win Wednesday, allowing one run on six hits and a walk over seven innings while striking out eight in a 2-1 victory over the Royals.
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Fans eight in loss to Brewers
PPittsburgh Pirates
September 15, 2018
Archer (4-8) took the loss Friday, giving up four runs on six hits and two walks over five innings while striking out eight as the Pirates fell 7-4 to the Brewers.
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