Rays Colored Glasses: A Look at Chris Archer, SP

Chris Archer was a key piece in the Matt Garza trade this past offseason. Like any curious fan I have read a lot about him over the past few weeks, trying to gain a perspective on why he was considered such a prize. While he was named the Cubs’ 2010 Minor League it’s pretty common knowledge that the Rays already have several pitchers in their system that are comparable. That makes me wonder how much value he holds for the Rays when compared to the vast riches of arms in the farm system. And THAT makes me think he may, again, be a piece in a future trade.

Archer spent three years in the Cleveland organization and if we take his stats at face value we see a steady improvement as he progressed from a 17-year old fresh out of high school to a 19 year old with three years in professional baseball.

Year Age Aff W L ERA G GS IP ER BB SO WHIP BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2006 17 CLE 0 3 7.71 8 6 21.0 18 18 22 1.762 7.7 9.4 1.22
2007 18 CLE 1 7 5.88 13 11 56.2 37 24 53 1.500 3.8 8.4 2.21
2008 19 CLE 4 8 4.29 27 27 115.1 55 84 106 1.526 6.6 8.3 1.26
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/5/2011.

Archer’s ERA went from 7.71 his first year to 4.29 by his third year. He was hampered by a lack of control and Cleveland obviously felt they didn’t have room for him. Two years later, after Archer had risen through the Chicago organization, he validated his selection as Chicago’s 2010 Minor League Pitcher of the Year with an impressive six inning, 10 strikeout performance against Cuba in the Pan Am Qualifying tournament.

Year Age Aff W L ERA G GS IP ER BB SO WHIP BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2009 20 CHC 6 4 2.81 27 26 109.0 34 66 119 1.321 5.4 9.8 1.80
2010 21 CHC 15 3 2.34 28 27 142.1 37 65 149 1.173 4.1 9.4 2.29
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/5/2011.

Archer has struggled with control but looking at his stat line he improved steadily across the board. If you look strictly at his career 5.2 BB/9 you’d be left scratching your head wondering what the Rays see in him. What I see is a kid who is eminently coach-able, but doesn’t flash the peripherals to be anything more than a back of the rotation pitcher.

For now at least.

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