January 21, 2021

Pitch Design: Is There Any Hope for Chris Archer’s Two-Seam Fastball? (FanGraphs)

Chris Archer was bad in 2019. In fact, he was as bad as he’d ever been, posting his lowest WAR total and the worst FIP, ERA, walk rate, and HR/FB rate of his career. The performance has made the trade that sent him to the Pittsburgh Pirates from the Tampa Bay Rays look like a complete abomination.

Yet he shouldn’t have to walk the plank just yet.

For Archer, who turned 31 at the end of September, it’s something of a long shot that he’ll be able to return to being the pitcher he was during his heyday with the Rays. As you can see, what was once a good arsenal has devolved into a group of mediocre, if not weak, pitches:

Chris Archer Career Pitch Values

Season Team wFA/C wSI/C wCH/C wSL/C wCU/C
2012 Rays -1.37 2.59 2.17 2.05 6.92
2013 Rays 0.59 0.11 -1.72 1.13
2014 Rays -0.65 0.48 0.05 0.85
2015 Rays 0.11 0.43 1.87
2016 Rays -0.80 -0.05 1.61
2017 Rays -0.18 -0.91 1.3
2018 2 Teams -0.99 -0.43 -0.40 0.59 -0.81
2019 Pirates 0.08 -3.00 -0.92 0.30 -2.01

The most significant dip for Archer came in the effectiveness of his two-seam fastball. The pitch worked well for him earlier in the decade, and after removing it from his arsenal in…

Read “Pitch Design: Is There Any Hope for Chris Archer’s Two-Seam Fastball?” at FanGraphs