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Monday, January 22, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: CHRIS ARCHER SP TAMPA BAY RAYS

This piece should also maybe be titled "The Puzzle That is Chris Archer."  The Tampa Bay hard-throwing hurler is certainly a puzzle as he has the overpowering stuff to be a Chris Sale-type pitcher but in the end, the numbers just never get there.  At this time last season, I was all-in on Archer and owned him in the Experts League with big expectations.  While Archer once again remained a strikeout artist with few peers in punching out 249 batters in just 201 innings pitched, his final 4.07 ERA and 1.26 WHIP were a major disappointment.  So as we always do, let's dig in more on the numbers and find out if Archer can finally have that breakthrough campaign that his talent has always hinted at.

First let's look at Archer's numbers as a whole last season:

10-12
4.07 ERA
1.26 WHIP
249 K in 201 IP

These numbers are very similar to the 4.02 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, and 233 K he has in 2016 as well.  The bottom line is that while Archer can completely lock down any opposing lineup in any given outing, he also is prone to blowing up as well.  The biggest bugaboo that has held Archer back has been his annually high home run rate and we all know that just one or two misplaced pitches in any one start could ruin an otherwise dominant outing.  Archer's HR/9 has been very ugly at 1.34 and 1.21 the last two seasons which has blown up the ERA higher than what his stuff would suggest.  Yes Archer did lower that rate last season which helped a bit but a .320 BABIP went the other way to raise the ERA and WHIP.  When you adjust Archer's ERA for the bad luck last season., his FIP mark goes down to 3.40 and XFIP to 3.55.  So that alone makes things look even better.  So it stands to reason that if Archer lowers his HR/9 again this season and he gets neutral BABIP luck, his ratios will look so much better.  His 11.15 K/9 was monstrous in 2017 and it reinforces how Archer is as good as it gets among all pitchers when it comes to strikeouts.  While a late-season elbow scare is concerning, we will surely recommend going all-in on Archer for the 2018 fantasy baseball season yet again.  The talent is so obvious and the price will be generous which makes drafting Archer a smart idea this spring.

2018 PROJECTION:  14-10 3.57 ERA 1.23 WHIP 244 K  




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