Matt Moore and Chris Archer Stand Out | The Process Report

Matt Moore and Chris Archer Stand Out

Two weeks from tomorrow, the regular season will open. Until then, there’s going to be a little more TPR11 promotion and some random analysis like this post. I always want to write more about the minor leagues throughout the season and never do. I’m going to try and do one minor league post a week, probably focusing in on a random player or maybe some reoccurring players. The system has a ton of interesting fellows, so it shouldn’t be a problem.

For now, the focus is on Matthew Moore and Christopher Archer. Moore is arguably the best pitching prospect in the system (once Jeremy Hellickson graduates, at least) and Archer is the newest toy. Both of these pitchers have good stuff and pitched at the same level last season, with Archer eventually moving to Double-A, leaving Moore in the Florida State League all by his lonesome. Moore didn’t mind.

Here are their statistics:

Pitcher	Level	League	IP	SO%	uBB%
Archer	AA	SOUL	70	23.0%	15.1%
Archer	A+	FLOR	72.1	27.4%	8.4%
Moore	A+	FLOR	144.2	34.5%	10.2%

This sort of minor league statistical analysis tells us something, but not enough. Striking out more than a third of your batters at any level is going to be a big deal –especially over nearly 150 innings pitched—, but how good is Archer’s 23 percent rate in the Southern League? In order to find out, I took the pitchers in either league who threw 70 or more innings. From there, I figured out the average rates as well as the standard deviations. Here were the results:

Florida State League:
SO%: 19.8
uBB%: 6.5

Standard Deviations 
SO%: 5.9
uBB%: 3.5

Southern League
SO%: 19.0
uBB%: 8.0

Standard Deviations 
SO%: 4.6
uBB%: 2.6

From this information, a table like this can be created:

Pitcher	Level	League	IP	SO% StD	uBB% StD
Archer	AA	SOUL	70	0.87	-2.73
Archer	A+	FLOR	72.1	1.29	-0.54
Moore	A+	FLOR	144.2	2.49	-1.06

Perhaps it’s just me, but sometimes writing (or reading) “so and so had a below average walk rate” can be confusing. Technically, a below average walk rate is a good thing, but sometimes that means a bad thing. To prevent confusion, I’ve calculated the numbers so that negative numbers are a bad thing.

I’ll cover Moore first. His strikeout rate is ridiculous. If strikeouts are normally distributed, then 68 percent of the population is within a standard deviation either way while 95 percent within two standard deviations. Moore is way out there. Of course, his walk rate is more than one deviation from the mean too, which isn’t as nice. I looked into Moore’s statistics after reading Kevin Gengler’s chapter on him and Moore’s consistency on a rate basis is just astounding:

Season	Level	SO%
2007	Rk	31.2%
2008	Rk	34.8%
2009	A	33.7%
2010	A+	34.8%

I don’t know if he can possibly replicate that strikeout rate at Double-A this season, but then again, I don’t know that he can’t either.

As for Archer, he’s headed to Triple-A, where he’ll spend time with Neil Allen. It’s weird to write about the Durham pitching coach and not instinctively place Xavier Hernandez’s name into the sentence, but Allen has worked with other top arms in the system. FreeZorilla posted this snippet from an article where he outlined his philosophy:

I attack the zone. I’m not a guy, as you well know when I was a closer, I’m not a guy who picks and feels my way. I’m not afraid of contact. I don’t want them to be afraid of contact. I want them to put the ball in play. I don’t like base on balls. I want them to command both sides of the plate with their fastball. If they can command both sides of the plate with their fastball in A ball, then the other stuff will come along, the changeup and curveball. That will come along during the course of the season. I’ve got to get them out of the gate to believe in their fastball to both sides of the plate. Attack the zone. Don’t be afraid of contact.

I can’t confirm this, but I suspect Archer’s fastball command is the biggest issue with him right now. If Allen instills his philosophy as well as he articulates it, then Archer’s walk rate should come back to Earth. Just as Moore’s strikeout rate is out there (yet ethereal), Archer’s walk rate in Double-A is out there and hideous. I suppose, if nothing else, it can’t get any worse.


  1. […] Stacked Rotation Posted on March 28, 2011 by R.J. Anderson About a week and a half ago, I wrote about Matthew Moore and Chris Archer. The pair have since been moved to Double-A Montgomery to form […]

  2. […] a week and a half ago, I wrote about Matthew Moore and Chris Archer. The pair have since been moved to Double-A Montgomery to form […]

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