High ceiling, inconsistent results
Taken in the fifth round of the 2006 draft by the Cleveland Indians, Archer failed to separate himself as a pitcher during his minor league career.
In 2008, Cleveland dealt Archer, John Gaub and Jeff Stevens in the Mark DeRosa trade. With the Cubs’ High-A and Double-A affiliates in 2010, the right-hander was absolutely dominant, going 15-3 with a 2.34 ERA in 27 starts.
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But that joy to Cubs’ fans was short-lived. Chicago sent Archer, Hak-Ju Lee, Robinson Chirinos, Sam Fuld and Brandon Guyer in the deal that brought Matt Garza, Fernando Perez and Zac Rosscup to North Side.
Archer made his big-league debut in 2012 with the Rays. In his first start, he allowed three earned over six innings in a loss to Washington. The rest of the campaign was largely forgettable as he pitched to a 4.60 ERA and 1-3 record.
Over the next two years, the right-hander pitched to a low-3.00 ERA, making 55 starts for the Rays. In 2015, however, he broke out, earning the first All-Star selection of his big-league career.
In the first half, Archer posted a 2.74 ERA and 4.90 SO/BB ratio, while averaging nearly 11 strikeouts per nine. He went on to set a career-high with a dozen wins, leading the league with 34 starts.
Struggles or are we looking at the wrong numbers?
Over the last year-plus, though, the Tampa Bay ace hasn’t posted the same numbers. He lost an American League-worst 19 games in 2016, but his FIP indicated better performance at 3.81. The long-ball plagued him (1.3 per nine) and he entered 2017 looking for a bounce back campaign.
Taking the ball consistently, Archer is tied for the league lead with 15 starts already in 2017, averaging a career-best 11.2 strikeouts per nine. His HR/9 dropped back in-line with his career average and he represents one of the higher upside options on the market this summer.