June 20, 2012; Washington, D.C., USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) makes his major league debut pitching in the second inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. The Nationals defeated the Rays 3 - 2. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE

Impact September Call-Ups: Chris Archer


When a Jeremy Hellickson injury opened up a rotation spot, Chris Archer came up to the Rays to replace him, making his pro debut. Archer made two starts, going 0-2 with a 3.86 ERA, but he struck out 14 while walking just 2 in 11.2 innings pitched. Could Archer be a pitcher who could step up to be a big part of the Rays’ pennant chase in September?

Archer’s Triple-A numbers are not all that impressive. On the season, he has gone 7-9 with a 3.76 ERA, a 9.9 K/9, a 4.5 BB/9, and a 0.4 HR/9 in 24 starts and 122 IP. According to Minor League Central, his groundball rate is solid but unspectacular at 45.3%. But since returning from the major leagues, Archer went 3-1 with a 2.03 ERA, striking out 44 while walking just 16 in 45.1 innings pitched. Archer has always been an enigmatic pitcher thanks to control issues, but his time in the major leagues appears to have really settled him down.

But the bigger reason why the Rays are excited about Archer is his pure stuff. Archer throws a mid-90′s fastball with good movement away from right-handed batters, a devastating low-80′s slider, and a solid low-80′s changeup. Archer has electric stuff. There is no question about that. The question has always been whether he could throw his pitches for strikes and locate his pitches within the zone. Archer has struck out 7.9 or more batters per 9 innings every season as a pro. But his walk rate has been 3.8 or more per 9 every season. We saw Matt Moore, another pitcher with a history of control problems, struggle mightily with control and command in 2012 even after posting a 2.9 BB/9 in 2011 in the minors and 2.7 in 2010. Archer is several steps behind Moore. Archer did walk just 2 batters in his first 2 big league starts, but he managed just a 27.6% groundball rate as hitters elevated a lot of balls against him. There is plenty of reason to suspect that Archer may never get past his command problems, at least in the near future.

Archer’s control problems have prompted some evaluators to view him as more of a late inning reliever than a starting pitcher moving forward. Archer’s long-term role has yet to be determined, but this September, Archer has a chance to put his electric arsenal to use out of the bullpen. And even as a rookie, Archer has the ability to be a big part of the Rays’ bullpen right now.

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  • Chris Rhodes

    Tell me if wrong couldnt they add more if dropped Lueke and Matt Bush from 40 man roster like Leslie Anderson and another pitcher on top of Archer?

    • Robbie_Knopf

      Matt Bush is only on the 40-man roster in theory- he’s on the restricted list so he doesn’t count. Dropping Lueke could be a possibility if the Rays want to see what Anderson can do.

      • Chris Rhodes

        Yep That would sure make a lot more sense than wasting time and valuable at bats in key games with guys like Carlos K Pena.
        I’d love to see a story recapping the September 40 man roster to show the fans what they are really getting listing them all! I believe most fans don’t know.
        If dropping Matt Bush and Lueke would give Beckham and Leslie Anderson a look don’t the fans deserve that! Write that please.
        Really don’t the Rays need to take that look with Brignac and S-Rod not being the bench help or future and Beckham theyre #1 pick back not too a while ago. Leslie Anderson can help in 2013 needs a look now because he can play Outfield or 1st base. That’s “Key” since Upton is gone in Free Agency in 2013 right? Plus is Pena really back in 2013???
        Write a story if you don’t mind on why fields need the Sept 2012 look in call ups to boost direction for the holes that are likely to need filling in 2013 if you can!
        Just an idea from big Rays fan in Tampa
        Thanks!

        • Robbie_Knopf

          Not sure if I’ll do an all-encompassing 40-man roster post (although I’ll certainly have to consider it), but I’ll do write-ups and players like Lueke and Alex Torres over the next few days. FYI, Beckham will be heading to the Arizona Fall League rather than play for the Rays in September.

          • Chris Rhodes

            cool keep up the good stories

  • Chris Rhodes

    Chris Archer is the biggest stand out of the bunch so far with Giminez a close second for the bat! The others kinda been there done that! Maybe Leslie Anderson shouldve hit 280 or 230 BA seems he had no chance at call up when guys like Lueke and Brignac are on the 40 man roster instead just my opinion…. this fansided but Lueke seems to be on the 40 man just to justify the Jaso trade and likely won’t see any worthy action. If Matt Bush is still on the 40 man of Leslie Anderson it should make fans wanna puke … he shouldve be let go after his screw after spring training!!!

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