Toronto Blue Jays Opposing Pitcher Report: Chris Archer

DETROIT, MI - MAY 01: Chris Archer #22 of the Tampa Bay Rays throws a second inning pitch while playing the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on May 1, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - MAY 01: Chris Archer #22 of the Tampa Bay Rays throws a second inning pitch while playing the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on May 1, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Blue Jays will finish their series in Tampa Bay with a Sunday afternoon match-up between the crafty and Marco Estrada and the nasty Chris Archer. Archer has had his fair share of struggles this year. The young righty always seems to be a young pitcher poised to break out—but never does.

Chris Archer offers three pitches—a fastball, slider, and changeup. Archer’s fastball is his favourite, used 46.3% of the time. The fastball averages a velocity of 94.5 mph. As well, with the added effect of spin rate, the fastball is perceived to move a little faster at 95.3 mph.

Archer primarily a fastball-slider pitcher. The slider is secondary to the fastball at a use rate of 43.6%. As well, the slider is quite hard, clocking an average velocity of 87.9 but playing up to 88.6 mph with spin rate. Archer’s slider has proven difficult for Blue Jays hitters more than a few times in the past.

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The changeup completes his offerings. It is used 10.1% of the time and averages a hard 87.3 mph. The changeup is used primarily to induce groundballs. In April, the change produced worm-burners on 60% of every ball in play.

According to pitch values, the changeup has been his best pitch, while his fastball has been his worst. Currently, the fastball is valued at -4.7 wFB while the changeup is worth an only slightly less terrible -0.7 wCH. It should be noted that his low use of changeups could be manipulating these numbers, though.

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Archer has done a relatively good job at avoiding contact, allowing contact on just 72.6% of his pitches—80% contact is considered average. However, this is not what has plagued Archer this year. The menacing home run ball and hard contact have come back to haunt Archer.
This season Archer has allowed six home runs in seven starts. As well, his medium contact% and hard contact% are both at a decently high 43.1% and 40.5%, respectively. While striking out a fair amount of batters, to the tune of a great 9.78 K/9, Archer has problems when batters can make contact.

Therefore, the Blue Jays have to try their best to force Archer into the zone. If the team goes chasing, Archer will dominate. However, if they can stay patient and work at-bats, which they have proven the ability to do recently, they have a chance to force Archer into the zone and achieve hard contact.

Archer has had his way with the Blue Jays in the past, unfortunately. All of Josh Donaldson, Curtis Granderson, Russell Martin, Kendrys Morales, Kevin Pillar, Justin Smoak, Dalton Pompey, and Yangervis Solarte have had at least four at-bats against the young right-hander. Kendrys Morales is the only batter who has done well against Archer. In 31 at-bats, Morales holds a .516/.531/.1000 slash line against Archer. Every other batter with experience against Archer has been unable to reach an OPS over .700 against the Rays ace.

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The sign of hope for the Jays may be that Archer has had a difficult start to the season. In seven starts and 38.2 IP, Archer has pitched to a 2-2 record with a 6.05 ERA, 69 ERA+, and 1.526 WHIP. The Blue Jays will need all the help they can get in order to avoid a sweep at the hands of the rival Tampa Bay Rays Sunday afternoon.