Chris Archer Harnesses The Heat | The Process Report

Chris Archer Harnesses The Heat

Chris Archer‘s fastball command has been talked about since the day the Rays acquired the young right-hander in the winter of 2011. For the most part, the talk centers on when-or-if he will develop enough command of the heater to take the next step as a major-league starter. One start does not mean much, but perhaps we will look back on Tuesday’s outing against the Twins as the genesis of “when.”

Archer had a relatively boring evening against Minnesota. He allowed one run on three hits in six innings of work. He struck out only two batters, but did not walk a man for the first time as a big-league starter. He was lifted after throwing just 84 pitches including 53 strikes.

The game plan was simple against the Twins. Archer worked primarily off the fastball while mixing in both of his secondary offerings. After taking a back seat for a few starts, the changeup has made it’s way back into the pitcher’s rotation. He threw a fair amount of sliders, but it lacked the sharp, two-plane break we have become used to seeing. At least for this outing, Archer’s command out-shined his stuff.

“The fastball today was a much better pitch for him in the sense that he knew where it was going all night. And he threw a couple good changeups, too, so he did pitch very well,” Rays’ manager Joe Maddon said after the game.

Maddon appears to be spot on in his assessment. It looks as if Archer had a real good sense of where the ball was going. He peppered the upper-right corner of the strike zone with fastballs, working away to left-handed hitters while busting right-handers Brian Dozier and Trevor Plouffe inside. Of the 10 fastballs put in play, only one fell for a hit: a first-inning double by Joe Mauer.

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Maddon briefly mentioned the changeup so I will as well. If we are not talking about Archer’s fastball command, it is only because we are talking about his changeup. Though he only threw 13 off-speed pitches – all to left-handed batters – they were effective because of placement. He located the pitch arm-side and down, picking up five outs with his third-best offering.

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All the sample related caveats apply here. It was one start against a below-average offense; however, you have to start somewhere. “It felt good to have good stuff and to be able to harness it” said Archer. If the 24-year-old can find a balance between stuff and command, it will be a cold world for opposing hitters.



One Comment

  1. […] weeks, I have written at length about Archer. I’ve talked about his changeup, his fastball command and mental growth. The one piece of his game that I have ignored is his slider. The offering is […]

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