Friday, June 29, 2018


Having been cleared to begin a rehab assignment next week, the return of Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer to active duty is drawing nearer.  On the DL for the last few weeks due to an abdominal strain, Archer has been nothing short of a disaster for those who still own fantasy baseball stock in the guy as he was hit around badly prior to getting hurt.  Things were so bad that this one-time big Archer fan was on board with anyone who wanted to cut him outright in mixed leagues.  While the hope is that Archer will return a much better pitcher then when he left, the damage he has done already is stark as evidenced by the following numbers:

4.24 ERA
1.34 WHIP
.260 BAA
8.96 K/9
3.07 BB/9
1.06 HR/9
.324 BABIP

Boy those are some ugly numbers and while Archer was always a guy who seemed to pitch worse than what one would think is possible from a guy who habitually struck out 240 batters a season, there are a multitude of red flags worth discussing.  The starkest is the insane drop in K/9 from Archer who prior to 2017 was one of the very best strikeout artists in baseball who struck out 252, 233, and 249 batters the three seasons prior to 2018.  Alas, Archer's K/9 has gone from an extremely good 11.15 a year ago to just 8.96 this season.  While 8.96 is still very solid, the loss of strikeouts has made Archer so much more hittable which makes sense in terms of the ugly ERA and WHIP.  What is also interesting here is that Archer has not lost anything in terms of average fastball velocity as his 95.4 mark this season is only just a smidge down from 95.8 the year prior.  What we do have here is Archer missing with location as his walks are up sharply and he also is dealing with a BABIP that is in the unlucky range.  When Archer's unlucky BABIP is adjusted, his FIP (3.78) and XFIP (3.78) ERA's are much more palatable. 

So what we have here is that Archer could benefit from the time off and come back with the lost strikeouts from the first two months of the season.  Also if his luck regresses back to the mean, the ERA will drop as well which changes the whole storyline here.  If you do still hold shares in Archer, be a bit careful of his early usage but also don't be afraid to buy into the advanced numbers portending to better outings being on the way soon. 

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