Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Archer: Fantasy Baseball Ace or Disaster?

Senior Expert Adam Ronis examines whether Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer is a Fantasy Baseball ace or a Fantasy Baseball disaster waiting to happen...

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Just when many thought Chris Archer was a fantasy baseball ace, he let us down. Archer went 9-19 with a 4.02 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. Archer pitched 201.1 innings and allowed 183 hits, walked 67 and struck out 233.

One of the biggest differences from 2015 to 2016 was an increase in home runs. Archer allowed 0.81 HR/9 in 2015 and 1.34 HR/9 last season. This type of season would usually result in a discount on Archer, but unfortunately with a lack of elite starting pitching, Archer is being drafted as a Top 15 starting pitcher in most drafts. Is he worth it?

Archer pitched better in the second half after a rough first half. Archer went 4-11 with a 5.40 ERA and 1.454 WHIP in the first three months of the season. Most of the issues were tied to walks and home runs. Archer allowed 43 walks in 98.1 innings and 17 home runs.

As the walks were cut down in the final three months, Archer improved. In his final 103 innings, he walked 24, struck out 116 and allowed 13 home runs for a 3.32 ERA.

http://www.scout.com/player/105977-chris-archer?s=532

Archer posted ERAs of 3.22, 3.33 and 3.23 from 2013-15. Archer had a 29 percent strikeout rate in 2015 and it was 27.4 percent last season and the walk rates were similar, too. Archer had a 7.6 percent walk rate in 2015 and 7.9 percent last season. He had a .295 BABIP in 2015 and .296 last season.

Archer had a hard hit percentage of 32.2 percent in 2015 and 32.8 percent last season. Archer allowed less line drives last season with a 17.7 percent mark compared to 20 percent in 2015 and had a career-high 47.8 percent groundball rate.

The velocity on his fastball decreased slightly going from 95.2 miles per hour to 94.3 last season. Archer had a 12.2 percent swinging strike rate compared to 12.8 percent in 2015.

A lot of the numbers from last season were in line with what he did in 2015. Archer had a bad first half where walks and home runs coupled with a .321 BABIP caused his struggles. Archer cut down on the walks, had a .265 BABIP and the home runs declined and it added up to the numbers many hoped for when they took him as a core piece of their pitching.

Home runs have never been a problem for Archer. He allowed 15 in 128.2 innings in 2013, 12 in 194.2 innings in 2014 and 19 in 212 innings in 2015. Archer allowed 30 of his career 79 home runs last season.

Archer turned his season around in the second half and I expect his second half to be the norm in 2017. Usually when a pitcher has the stats Archer did last season, we get a nice discount. Unfortunately, it's not as cheap as we hoped, but Archer can still net a profit in 2017. Don't shy away from Archer.


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