On Monday night, Wil Myers pulled home the 2013 Rookie of the Year Award. After being called up on June 16th, Myers slashed a .293/.358/.478 line along with 13 home runs. Myers was certainly deserving of this award and his solid first taste of the big leagues leaves Rays fans very excited about what he can provide in the future. Also receiving ROY recognition was Chris Archer, who finished third in the voting behind Myers and Jose Iglesias, also receiving one first-place vote. Archer was very good in his first extended action in the Rays’ rotation; pitching to a 3.22 ERA with 101 strikeouts and 38 walks in 128.2 innings. And despite Myers winning the ROY award over Archer, Archer could end up being more valuable to the Rays in the long run.
Even though Myers being good at the plate, he is lacking in other aspects of the game. While Myers’ defense was thought to be average in the minor leagues, he did not look great in right field in the big leagues in 2013. Myers had a reputation as having a very good arm, however his arm did not look anything special during his time in the big leagues. As of now, Myers can play fringe defense in centerfield, and has speed that is average or maybe slightly above average. But as time goes on, Myers’ speed will have nowhere to go but down. Myers will only get slower and slower as he gets older, which will decrease his defensive and base running value. Don’t get me wrong, Myers is a very good hitter. But hitting is just one aspect of the game, and Myers’ hit and power tools are his only tools that will be above-average in the future.
Archer, on the other hand, is only getting started. After struggling with his command through the minor leagues, Archer’s command improved significantly in 2013. It has always been known that Archer’s stuff, specifically his nasty fastball-slider combination, would play in the big leagues, but command issues and his lack of a third pitch have limited him in the minors. Archer’s 2.7 BB/9 in the big leagues this year is a very good number, especially when considering his past command struggles. Even though he did not rely heavily on his changeup, Archer’s changeup has made enough strides where it is now a serviceable major league pitch, even serving as his put-away pitch in the occasional game where his slider was off. It provides a nice change of pace from his fastball and slider, and will always been in the back of a hitter’s mind. Given his very good stuff, Archer has all the tools to be a front line starter for the Rays. If he can sustain his command levels from 2013, Archer has what it takes to be a very good number 2 starter for the Rays.
Wil Myers and Chris Archer both provide reason for Rays’ fans to be excited. However, Archer probably will end up being more valuable in the long run. Given how valuable pitching is in the big leagues, a young starter like Archer is always coveted by every team. Archer’s solid stuff and improved command make him a frontline starter for the Rays going into 2014 and beyond. Myers is a good hitter, but at the same time he does not offer much value defensively or on the basepaths and he will have to hit like crazy to truly be a superstar. Myers will be a middle of the order hitter for the Rays for years to come, but because his game relies heavily on his bat, Archer is the more valuable player. Anyway you look at it, though, the Rays are excited to have two budding young stars on their team primed to make an impact for years to come.