CHRIS ALAN ARCHER
Image of
Nickname:   N/A Position:   RHP
Home: N/A Team:   RAYS
Height: 6' 2" Bats:   R
Weight: 205 Throws:   R
DOB: 9/26/1988 Agent: N/A
Uniform #: 22  
Birth City: Raleigh, NC
Draft: Indians #5 - 2006 - Out of high school (NC)
YR LEA TEAM SAL(K) G IP H SO BB GS CG SHO SV W L OBA ERA
2006 GCL GCL-Indians   7 19.1 17 21 17 6 0 0 0 0 3 0.224 7.45
2006 APP BURLINGTON   1 1.2 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.333 10.80
2007 GCL GCL-Indians   12 52.2 56 48 21 11 0 0 0 1 7 0.271 5.64
2007 SAL LAKE COUNTY   1 4 5 5 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.333 9.00
2008 SAL LAKE COUNTY   27 115.1 92 106 84 27 0 0 0 4 8   4.29
2009 MWL PEORIA   27 109 78 119 66 26 0 0 0 6 4   2.81
2010 SL TENNESSEE   13 70 48 67 39 13 0 0 0 8 2   1.80
2010 FSL DAYTONA   15 72.1 54 82 26 14 0 0 0 7 1   2.86
2011 IL DURHAM   2 13 11 12 6 2 0 0 0 1 0   0.69
2011 SL MONTGOMERY   25 134.1 136 118 80 25 0 0 0 8 7   4.42
2012 AL RAYS   6 29.1 23 36 13 4 0 0 0 1 3 0.215 4.60
2012 IL DURHAM   25 128 99 139 62 25 0 0 0 7 9   3.66
2013 AL RAYS   23 128.2 107 101 38 23 2 2 0 9 7 0.226 3.22
2013 IL DURHAM   10 50 50 52 23 10 0 0 0 5 3   3.96
2014 AL RAYS $511.00 32 194.2 177 173 72 32 0 0 0 10 9 0.243 3.33
2015 AL RAYS $1,667.00 34 212 175 252 66 34 1 1 0 12 13 0.22 3.23
2016 AL RAYS $2,920.00 33 201.1 183 233 67 33 0 0 0 9 19 0.238 4.02
2017 AL RAYS $4,917.00 34 201 193 249 60 34 0 0 0 10 12 0.246 4.07
Personal
  • Chris completed his senior season at Clayton High School in Clayton, N.C., where he was 8-3 with a 1.75 ERA while being named the Greater Neuse River 4A Conference Player of the Year.

    Archer played baseball and football against Jerry Sands and future NFL wide receiver Brandon Banks.Chris was teammates on the North Carolina high school All-Star team, which includedDustin AckleyandKyle Seager.

    He signed a letter of intent to attend the University of Miami on a baseball scholarship, but instead signed with the Indians.

    Chris pitched for the United States national baseball team in the qualifying tournament for the 2011 Pan American Games. Defeating the Cuban national baseball team, USA Baseball called Archer's game the International Performance of the Year.

  • Archer's biological mother is Sonya Clark. She would often go watch Chris pitch while at Clayton High School in North Carolina. She lives in nearby Raleigh.

    Clayton is a small town of around 7,000 people. Chris was raised in Clayton by Ron Archer, a stocky man in his 50s with a coarse, white beard and a gleaming pair of blue eyes. Technically, Ron is Chris's step-grandfather. He and Sonya's mother Donna married shortly before Chris was born—when Sonya was just 16. But it's apparent the bond between Ron and Chris is as strong as that of a father and son.

    "I brought him home from the hospital," says Ron, who was raised in a military home and is a manager at a hardwood flooring company in nearby Garner. "From the very start, it was understood we were raising Chris and he was our son. That's my world—Chris."

    Chris does not shy away from inquiries about his past. He did ask that Sonya not be interviewed, and said he doubts his biological father, whom he's never met, has any idea where he is today.

    "I'm pretty sure that he's not," says Chris, when asked if he thought his father was aware of Chris's accomplishments as Clayton High's starting quarterback on the football team and the baseball team's ace. "If he was, he would call or keep in touch. But that's not something I dwell on. My real mom put me up for adoption for a reason and I am fortunate to have two wonderful parents who have raised me and taught me everything I know. I don't think about my real father."

    Ron and Donna have been the ones alongside Chris from the beginning, and willingly so. It wasn't easy at first. Chris, whose biological father is black, accepted Ron and Donna, who are both white, perhaps because they were all he knew, even when others weren't as accepting in the community.

    "When Chris was real young, we might have gotten some strange looks, but it was a child," Ron says. "We were raising a child. And that was all that we cared about."

    They bought the shin guards when Chris played soccer, the high tops when he got into basketball, and the glove when he prepared for baseball tryouts as a seventh grader. And it was Ron who consoled Chris when he came home from tryouts, dejected following the news he had not made the team.  (Alan Matthews-Baseball America-4/10/06)

  • Chris was heading into his junior season at North Carolina’s Clayton High, just starting to pitch full time, when a friend inquired if he wanted to throw with her older brother, who'd been drafted by the Red Sox and was playing minor league ball. Davey Penny asked Archer what he threw, and he told him mostly fastballs and curveballs. Penny suggested he try a few other pitches, showing him grips for a two-seam fastball and a slider.

    “And it’s the same slider I throw to this day,’’ said Archer, who now throws them quite often, and quite well, the top weapon in an arsenal that has elevated him to be an all-star.

    THE POWER OF BOOKS

  • Credit Archer's parents for having the foresight to give Ron Walker their blessing to become a part of their son's life. Of course, given the right person, what parents wouldn't want their son or daughter to have that extra person in their life who could be a guiding light, a sounding board and a friend all rolled into one? Along the way, Walker helped Archer see that he had more talent for baseball than football, a game he excelled at. He also helped the lights go on for the real parts of life that don't include a jock strap.

    "What I wanted to do for Chris was to help him minimize the mistakes that I made in life," Walker said. "I was just trying to help him shorten his learning curve." Initially, Walker wanted to get Archer turned on to reading, because becoming an avid reader had provided him a foundation and had been a turning point in his life.

    "I started reading and trying to be the best person I could be and doing some personal development stuff," Walker said. "I introduced him to a book, and he was like, 'Coach, I hate to read.' And I said, 'You don't hate reading, you hate what you've been made to read.'"

    Walker gave Archer a copy of Spencer Johnson's motivational book Who Moved My Cheese? Archer devoured the book and wanted more. Not only did reading books serve Archer in helping him learn, the content of his reading, much of which was motivational, applied to many things in his life and opened another avenue for dialogue with his mentor.

  • In August 2013, Chris was reading I Am: The Power of Discovering Who You Really Are, by Howard Falco. He hasn't so much been reading the book as he has been savoring it, taking time to jot notes in the margins as he reads. Archer's explanation is simple: He wants to absorb what he's reading and reflect on the words.

    Alas, thinking too much can be a dangerous action for baseball players, since the game they play requires single-mindedness and focus. Random thoughts can serve as a distraction. Catcher Jose Lobaton smiled when asked if Archer overthinks.

    "Yeah, he does that sometimes," Lobaton said. "I think some pitchers do that. Sometimes they're just thinking, thinking, thinking. Every time I go to the mound, I say, 'Stop thinking, just feel. What are you feeling in that moment? What is the pitch that you feel in your hand?'"

  • In 2013, Archer stood before a room of boys and young men who had crossed the boundary of at-risk and proceeded directly to the Pinellas County Juvenile Detention Center, more than a few in silver handcuffs.

    Archer, just 24 at the time, had spent some time at-risk himself, and not that long ago. It was kid stuff mostly, he recalled—some petty theft, other incidents he's not too proud of—on the streets near Raleigh, N.C. He was a bit lost, a little turned around, a biracial teen with blond-haired, blue-eyed parents.

    Years later, making a living as a pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays, Archer looked out at mostly brown faces. A boy raised his hand.  "Who is the most important influence in your life?" he asked.

    Archer thought about his parents. A mentor he thought of as "part father figure, part brother, part baseball coach, part spirituality coach." David Price, a teammate. But most important?

    He pulled a thick paperback from his gray satchel. Its cover was curled, the binding stretched against a blue pen acting as a bookmark. Archer had underlined passages in Reflections on the Art of Living, by Joseph Campbell.

     "If you're not putting anything into your head," he said, "you're just going to think what everybody else around you thinks. You're just going to do what that television programming says."So he reads and he watches. He thinks. He ponders The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Outwitting the Devil, and The Alchemist, then hands them off to friends. "My soul is old," he said.

    He was born to a black father, whom he met for the first time this spring, and a white mother. When Chris was 2, his mother's mother and her husband adopted him. When Archer talks about his parents, it is they: Donna and Ron Archer of Clayton, N.C.

    He does not believe in the concept of luck. Too random. From his chair at his locker, he flipped a shoe into the middle of the room. Where it landed, where it stopped tumbling, that, he said, was luck. Random. "But I will say that I was very fortunate to have the people who raised me," he said. "It's all divine. I'm not a religious person. But I am spiritual. There was a reason they came to me. Luck is something you don't understand."

    "I'm trying to do everything I can to pay forward what was given to me," he said. "My parents, two white parents, selflessly adopted a biracial child in the south. That's just to start with. Every day my Dad told me, 'You're my world.' I was not even his blood. And now baseball gives me the platform to impact thousands, hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of people."

    "I think it's a very special thing to see," David Price said. "A lot of guys could be in the position Chris Archer is in, playing ball, and that's all they'd see. They don't think about how they got here or what they can do with it. To think, that selflessness at that age. It's very special. Those are the guys you really cheer for."

    He's been to Boys & Girls Clubs. He's been to the YMCA. And to juvenile hall. He shares his story, the course he chose before it chose him, and why.

    "I know that I'm on this earth to inspire other people. Because other people inspired me."  (Tim Brown - 9/17/13)

  • Chris has an outgoing personality. He is likable and friendly. Being raised by a loving and nurturing grandmother and her husband, Archer has become a young man all parents would be happy to call son.

    A conversation with Archer can range from a discussion about pitching to a book he's recently read. In between, choice morsels about motivation, kindness and the road to success are sure to leave his lips, all in a sincere and earnest fashion.

  • Archer is spindly and thin—built a lot like Julian Tavarez, formerly of the Cardinals and Red Sox.
  • In the spring of 2010, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Chris as the 15th-best prospect in the Cubs' organization. And in the winter before 2011 spring training, they had Archer as the #1 prospect in the Chicago Cubs' farm system.

    After coming to the Rays in the Matt Garza trade, Archer was ranked third-best prospect in Tampa's organization in the spring of 2012. And he moved back up to #1, this time in the Rays' organization, in the winter before 2013 spring training.

  • In 2010, Archer was named the Cubs' Minor League Pitcher of the Year.

  • In 2012, he was named the Rays' Minor League Pitcher of the Year. He led the International League in strikeouts (139) and whiffs per nine innings (9.8).

  • In 2008, Rays teammate David Price first met Archer while the two worked out at Vanderbilt, where Price attended school and pitched for the Commodores. 

    Archer made an immediate impression on Price. "From the first time I met him, I could tell he was raised the right way, that's a big part of it," Price said. "I could tell he had the work ethic—the determination. He had that right mindset to want to continue to learn and grow in the game of baseball. That's what he does, he comes to the field every day to get his work in. He's a great teammate, he's a great person."

    Thinking about things and taking time for introspection appeals to Archer, who is passionate about learning.  "He says a lot of stuff nobody else really understands," Price said. "But that's just kind of the way he says things, and he uses bigger words because he reads a lot of books, and we don't all have the vocabulary Arch has."

  • Archer enjoyed an enriching experience in the winter of 2014, when he paid a visit to Fort Bragg, the renowned Army installation located in Fayetteville, N.C. "Fox Sports told me the details about it, and it was in North Carolina, about an hour away from where I live, so I had to jump on an opportunity, because I never really interacted with the military before," Archer said. "And obviously, I had an appreciation. But it magnified after my visit."

    "I now have a greater appreciation and respect for what those guys do on a day-to-day basis, hearing personal stories of why they joined," Archer said. "What they plan on doing in the future. What all goes on at a military base. I mean, it was cool for me. It was a great experience." (Chastain - mlb.com - 02/19/14)

  • Spring 2015: Chris Archer broadened his horizons during the offseason by taking a trip abroad. He traveled to South Africa as part of Major League Baseball's ambassador program, which helps build awareness of the game in different countries. Not only did he enjoy the trip, but he came away with a new perspective

    According to Archer, South African baseball players don't participate in the sport with expectation of making a lot of money.

    "They're playing strictly for the love of the game," Archer said. "That was so cool."

    Archer made a discovery while observing that mentality.

    "I learned that all the material stuff in life is worthless if you don't have love," Archer said. "That's life. Baseball, just play the game the way they do. So every time I put on a uniform, grab a glove, [I] play for the love of the game."

    Rays manager Kevin Cash characterized Archer as a deep thinker, highly intellectual ad very caring.

    "He really cares," Cash said. "He cares about what he's doing, and he cares about the people around him, too."

    Archer continues to evolve professionally. Included in his growth is a willingness to embrace new ideas, particularly when doing so might aid his performance or enhance his life. For example, his approach to nutrition and health. During the offseason, he underwent food-allergy testing. Why? To eliminate any possible deterrents to performing well.

    "These are things you can't tell from the eye," Archer said. "But your body reacts in a negative way. And, long-term, you never know what kind of effect it's going to have on you. And in the present moment, you're not going to be as recovered as you possibly could be.

    "Now I know some things that cause extra inflammation. And inflammation is the root of disease. It's also what I'm trying to be rid of by the fifth day. I don't want my shoulder to be a little extra inflamed and not have the same life. So eliminating some of those things, I feel, has helped me. Might be the reason why I feel great."

    Putting the right food in his body is a priority. That means eating "clean."

    "It's necessity, in my opinion," Archer said. "I always talk about maximizing my potential on the field. A piece of the recipe of being great is nutrition. In 2014, we worked with a food company that was delivering a couple of meals a day to make it a little easier for us," Archer said. "Now, I have a personal chef I work with in Tampa, and on the road, we're just going to load up on Whole Foods."

    Archer has been known to show his emotions on the mound. When asked if starting on Opening Day will make him emotional, he answered: "I don't know. I'll have to tell you afterwards."

    "I'm definitely going to do my best to block it out and prepare," Archer said. "Because at the end of the day, it is just a game. They all have equal importance.

    "There's been ceremonies pregame on days that I've pitched. I'm just going to try and block it out. Do my normal routine prior to the game. Then at whatever time the game starts, I'm going to be ready." (B Chastian - MLB.com - April 3, 2015)

  • September 12, 2015: The first time Archer met new Rays manager Kevin Cash at lunch, there was no small talk.

    "What did Corey Kluber do to turn his career around?" Archer asked Cash, who'd been Cleveland's bullpen coach in 2014 when Kluber won the American League Cy Young Award. Cash was amazed at the first question out of Archer's mouth. But now, after a season managing him, the skipper understands.

    "For a young pitcher to realize this guy [Kluber] struggled for a time and [wanting to know] what was his secret to success in winning the Cy Young, it showed me a lot about where Archer's mind was and where he was headed," said Cash. "He's lived up to that, and proved it day in and day out. Arch is a young pitcher, but he carries himself like a veteran.

    "Christopher is just 26, but don't let the age fool you. I've seldom spent time with a player so young who can put this very difficult game in such perspective. If he has a poor outing, there's not sugarcoating. He's extremely accountable," said Cash. "Being a good teammate and being accountable are probably as good as any qualities you can have in this game."

    Archer is a thinking man's player. It's so refreshing to hear him rehash a pitching performance.

    "I try not to judge myself based on the outcome," said Archer, looking straight into my eyes with conviction. "I try to focus on the process and where I was mentally. I was in a good place. Sometimes they're going to hit missiles right at people and sometimes they're going to get the bat on the ball and find a hole. They found holes, but I was encouraged by the way we bounced back." (H Bodley - MLB.com - September 12, 2015)

  • The Tampa Bay chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America announced the winners of its annual awards. Chris won the 3025 Paul C. Smith Champion Award.  

    The Paul C. Smith Champion Award is presented to the Rays player who best exemplifies the spirit of true professionalism on and off the field. The award is named for Paul C. Smith, who covered Tampa Bay for MLB.com until his death on Feb. 26, 2005.

  • Archer is normally glued to his television during the League Championship Series and World Series, but he had a much closer view of baseball's best yearly event in the fall of 2015.

    Archer, the Tampa Bay Rays' All-Star starting pitcher and candidate to win the American League Cy Young Award, worked with ESPN during the World Series, providing analysis for "Baseball Tonight" and also for games broadcast on ESPN Radio. Needless to say, he paid close attention to the World Series action between the Royals and Mets.

    For the most part, players on teams not involved in the postseason enjoy watching the playoffs as their offseason gets under way. Archer has always paid close attention to the games, although he tries not to go into baseball overload during the Division Series, when games are played practically around the clock.

    Archer does like to decompress for a couple days after his own season ends, after all.

    "It's hard to watch all the Division Series, because you sit at home all day," he said. "I've also been doing it for 10 months before that. But when it comes down to the Championship Series and World Series, I pretty much watch every game."

  • Archer's interactions on Twitter and other social media avenues, where he provides in-depth analysis and helps fans view the game through his eyes, earned him the 2015 Esurance MLB Award for Best Social Media Personality.Archer received his GIBBY (Greatness in Baseball Yearly) Award before the Rays' game with the White Sox at Tropicana Field along with teammate Kevin Kiermaier, who won the MLB Esurance Award as Best Defensive Player.

    For Archer, social media aren't simply for posting photos of food or ballparks he's visiting. He wants his posts to mean something, to provide an insight and access that his more than 58,000 Twitter and more than 61,000 Instagram followers normally wouldn't have.  (Footer - MLB.com - 4/15/16)

  • October 2016: Just in time for the World Series, Cartoon Network’s “Uncle Grandpa” animated series will sport a Fall Classic theme on Oct. 22.

    The show will air at 12:15 p.m. and will feature Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer, Baltimore Orioles All-Star center fielder Adam Jones, Houston Astros second baseman José Altuve, Boston Red Sox pitcher David Price and New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard.The major-leaguers will attempt to help Uncle Grandpa train his struggling Little League squad.

  • November 2016: Chris Archer was a senior at Clayton (N.C.) High School in the spring of 2006, when the World Baseball Classic debuted as the sport's premier international tournament.

    "I still remember watching Derek Jeter and Roger Clemens take the field for Team USA," Archer recalled. "I was in awe. I realized there was no higher level of international competition for our sport. This is the equivalent of the World Cup of soccer.

    "I told myself I wanted to be part of it someday. Subconsciously, I've kept that as part of my motivation throughout my career. Along with winning a World Series and the Cy Young, that was on my short list. Now to represent the U.S. on that stage, this is a dream come true."

    With those words, the Rays right-hander confirmed to MLB.com that he's accepted an invitation to pitch for Team USA this March (2017).

  • 2017:  Archer was chosen to represent the USA in the World Baseball Classic.

  • Even though Chris pitches for a team on the other side of the country, he may have made a few fans in Seattle.  The Tampa Bay pitcher spoke to Seattle's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) league at the Rainier Vista Boys & Girls Club in the morning before the Rays opened a three-game series against the Mariners.

    "Visiting RBI is something I like to do in every city," Archer told the gathering. "It gives me a platform to reach out and allow kids in your position to meet a Major League baseball player."

    Archer started his visit by introducing himself and stressing the importance of academics and education before shifting to a question-and-answer format. He fielded questions ranging from his hardest out (it's recently retired David Ortiz) to how he's built his velocity over the years (lower body and core strengthening exercises).

    Being in the presence of the Rays ace was an enriching experiencing for Jack Lui, 17.  "I'm very grateful to hear him to talk to us," Lui said. "You don't have to be really good to make it at that level, you just have to be smart and try hard and just be thankful for what you've got. It's just great to hear from someone at that level that academics are important."

    For 10-year-old Davonn Abaga, learning about Archer's unique upbringing and his development as a pitcher was enlightening -- he was adopted at an early age and didn't pitch full-time until he was 16.  "I liked hearing about how he grew up in life," Abaga said. "[I like] how his mentor helped with him and got him into pitching."

    Julien Pollard, the program director for Seattle RBI Baseball, was thankful Archer took the time to meet with the kids.  "This is particularly special because he's a visiting player coming from out of town and he reached out and said, 'Hey, I'm in town for the weekend, can I come and talk to these guys?'" he said.

    "For me, that's really cool because it's someone that's new to our kids and our community. Someone they're aren't really familiar with. Obviously, he has a great story and a great impact on what he is doing."  (Horton - mlb.com - 6/2/17)

  • Nov 30, 2017: When the Rays report to camp in February,2018, a lot of focus will likely be on their young and talented pitching staff. Though Spring Training may seem like a long way off, Chris Archer took to social media to set his expectations for their offseason preparation. In a message delivered at 5:28 a.m. EST from the gym, Archer called out Jake Faria, Blake Snell, Brent Honeywell, Nate Eovaldi, Matt Andriese and Jake Odorizzi by name.

    Jose de Leon was perhaps the only person unimpressed by Archer's offseason dedication to the early-morning workout. The organization's second-ranked pitching prospect was up long before Archer. If the entire Rays rotation embodies even a fraction of their ace's dedication this offseason, the rest of baseball better watch out. (EChesterton - MLB.com - Nov 30, 2017)

            TRANSACTIONS

  • June 2006: The Indians chose Archer in the 5th round, out of Clayton High School in North Carolina. On July 9, he signed with scout Bob Mayer for a bonus of $161,000. 

  • December 31, 2008: The Cubs sent INF Mark DeRosa to the Indians, acquiring Archer, RHP Jeff Stevens, and LHP John Gaub.
  • January 9, 2011: The Rays sent P Matt Garza, OF Fernando Perez, and LHP Zach Rosscup to the Cubs; acquiring Archer, outfielder Brandon Guyer, shortstop Hak-Ju Lee, catcher Robinson Chirinos, and outfielder Sam Fuld.

  • April 2, 2014: Archer and the Rays agreed on a six-year contract extension with two club option years.

    The deal is worth $25.5 million guaranteed. The two option years will pay Archer about $9 million and $11 million, with the total contract maxing out at $43.75 million for all eight seasons.

Pitching
  • Archer has a 93-99 mph FASTBALL (a 60 on the 20-80 scouting scale, with 50 being Major League average).  He also has a 91-95 mph 2-seam SINKER that generates groundballs. His best pitch is a two-plane, 86-92 mph sharp SLIDER; it is plus-plus (a 70), one of the better sliders in the game. He also has an effective, but fringy CHANGEUP with good sink.

    His heater can get a tad straight because he has an over-the-top delivery, but the sinker flashes some sink and armside run. His plus-plus slider has very good tilt and depth. It is a chase pitch that moves away from righthanded hitters and away from lefties. He can over-rely on it as his strikeout pitch. Even then, weak contact usually occurs.

    With a hard fastball/slider combination, Archer could slow down hitters' bats with a more reliable changeup. He just doesn't throw his change enough, now. (May, 2016)

  • 2016 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 48.5% of the time; Change 11.3%; and Slider 40.2% of the time. 

    2017 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 47.6% of the time; Sinker .2% of the time; Change 8.1%; and Slider 44.1% of the time.

  • Though Archer's slider is technically an offspeed pitch, it is so good primarily because he throws it so hard, often clocked in the 90-92 mph range. Think of a pitch that has fastball velocity but curveball break and you get a sense of why it is so effective.

    “I don’t know why, that’s just the way it comes out,’’ Archer said. “I was taught to throw it with the same aggressiveness as my fastball.’’

    Not only does Chris throw his slider with more velo than most any other pitcher, even even fewer throw their slider with more break than Archer, who gets the ball to drop 8½ to 12 inches and move 6-8 inches across or off the plate, similar to some curveballs. And that combination, along with the axis he creates in releasing the ball and an above-average spin rate (about 2,300 rpms) that increases the difficulty for hitters to see the seams and distinguish it from a fastball, is what sets Archer apart.

    “A lot has to do with his hand positon, how much he gets his hand turned because that in essence is what really creates the movement,’’ Rays bullpen coach Stan Boroski said. “The unique thing about his is that it has the same movement even at the harder velocities. Generally the harder you throw a pitch the less it breaks.’’

    “I feel like it’s the same, just that I can control it a little better,’’ Archer said. “I think it’s just like anything, the more you practice it the better it gets. I think the difference is the conviction.’’

  • Chris has an easy, quick, fluid arm action. there are no real flaws in his delivery. He has improved his command and cut down on the walks. He could still repeat his mechanics a bit more consistently. He has the stuff to do well.

    His high arm slot doesn't afford him much deception, but his stuff is so good that he has success. 

  • Archer almost never gives up a home run.
  • Chris lacks only command to be a real presence in the Major Leagues. He still misses the strike zone too often. Observers attribute his imprecise command more to inconsistent focus than significant mechanical issues. (from back in the Spring of 2012)
  • Archer allowed that trusting his stuff against Major League hitters has made him more aggressive in the strike zone, which has resulted in more strikes and lower pitch counts. Teammate David Price marveled at how quickly Archer has grasped the strike zone.

    "It is [crazy]," Price said. "It's just his work ethic and his determination and his mindset. That's what baseball is—it's all mental. I feel like the mental side of baseball allows you to be able to execute pitches. And that's what baseball is, it's all about executing pitches. When you have that right mentality, you believe you're going to execute that pitch, no matter how hard you throw or how nasty your stuff is. If you have the right mindset and the positive outlook before you throw that pitch, it allows you to be able to execute it."

  • Chris has some interesting methods of preparation, such as meditation. "I just close my eyes and go through all the hitters," Archer said. "Not really specifically the hitters. I do a third-person point of view, so I see myself executing a pitch. And I also see myself from a first-person point of view, where I'm actually inside my own body doing it and feeling it. So I see myself do it, then I actually do it.

    "The more repetitions you get with your mind, the better off you're going to be, because your mind is sending the same message to your muscles as if you're actually doing it. So if I make 10 throws off the mound the day before, but I do 50 more throws in my head, I'm really doing 60 throws. It might not be true, but I found that it works for me, so I'm sticking to it." 

  • On July 28, 2013, Archer became the first rookie to throw a 1-0 shutout at Yankee Stadium since Milwaukee's Teddy Higuera did it in 1985, and the first rookie to throw any shutout in the Bronx since Baltimore's Arthur Rhodes did it in 1992.

  • 2014 improvements: Archer had been working on refining his four-seam circle changeup grip, and he said he doesn't mind if there's only a six or seven mph difference between his changeup and his fastball. Archer threw the pitch three or four times in his spring debut, and he was thrilled with the way it worked.

    "I think it's just an added weapon to my arsenal," said Archer, who also throws an effective slider. "It will be something that they'll have to respect and it will make my other pitches better."

  • June 7, 2015: Archer had come into the afternoon's gorgeous matinee at Safeco Field on a serious tear, having struck out 15 Angels in his previous start and 12 Mariners in the one before that, all without issuing a walk.

    With 11 more strikeouts and no walks, Archer became the first pitcher to record nine or more strikeouts without issuing a walk in three consecutive games in the modern era (1910). Another nugget: The 38 strikeouts is the most ever in a three-start stretch without a walk.

    He also reached 100 strikeouts in a season faster than any pitcher in Rays history, doing it in 58 games and beating David Price's 100 in 60 games in 2014. (Bill Chastain and Brian McTaggart / MLB.com)

  • August 20, 2015: Archer twirled a one-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts and one walk in a 1-0 win over the Astros, producing a game score of 95 with his effort—the highest such score in franchise history. The previous high was Jame Shields' 94, from Oct. 2, 2012, when the righthander went nine innings, allowed two hits and a run, and fanned 15 with no walks. Archer became the 69th pitcher since 1914 to have a one-hit shutout with at least 11 strikeouts, with 28 of those 69 having come since 1998. (R Schlueter - MLB.com - August 21, 2015)

  • September 11, 2015:  Archer struck out seven Red Sox in a row to tie a Rays' franchise record.

  • Sept. 21, 2015: Archer became the fourth Rays pitcher to record a 200-inning, 200-strikeout season, joining Price, Shields, and Kazmir.  (Chastain - mlb.com - 9/21/15)

    Also in 2015, Archer reached 250 strikeouts. By doing so, he joined an unusual group—pitchers to record at least 250 strikeouts without posting a winning record. Only six other pitchers have achieved this rare feat: Ben Sheets, Brewers (2004); Roger Clemens, Red Sox ('96); and Hall of Famers Nolan Ryan, Angels/Astros ('76, '78, '87); Steve Carlton, Phillies ('83); Phil Niekro, Braves ('77); and Ed Walsh, White Sox (1910).

    And, Archer became the seventh pitcher in team history to reach 200 innings, the blue-collar goal that says so much about a starter. He became the first pitcher to turn the trick for the Rays since 2012, when David Price and James Shields both exceeded the mark. Additionally, Archer became the fourth Rays pitcher to record a 200-inning, 200-strikeout season, joining Price, Shields and Scott Kazmir.

  • April 3, 2016: Archer established a Rays team record for strikeouts on Opening Day with 12 in five innings against the Blue Jays. Seattle's Felix Hernandez was the last player to strike out a dozen on Opening Day, when he did so on April 2, 2007, against Oakland.

    The Rays' previous record for Opening Day strikeouts was seven, achieved by Steve Trachsel in 2000 and David Price in 2011.

  • Throughout most of his minor league career, Archer was one of the wilder starters in the minors. Chris always had plus stuff, but it was often lost behind a blizzard of walks, which is part of the reason he was traded twice before he reached the big leagues.

    Hitters rarely squared up Archer, but they often trotted to first. However, the delivery was clean. There was no obvious reason that Archer would not be able to throw strikes. And after a lot of work in 2012 with Triple-A Durham pitching coach Neil Allen—now the Twins’ big league pitching coach—it started to click.

    “For me the biggest reason he got it going was Neil Allen,” Rays pitching coordinator Dick Bosman said. “He had Archie on the bullpen on the side session days. He’d tell him he had to throw seven of 10 fastballs for strikes before they could go on. The  turning point was Neil Allen working in that bullpen before every start.”

    Chris still doesn't have plus command or control. But since the 2013 season, it has been big league average or a tad better. 

    Studying video of Archer’s delivery reveals it hasn’t changed much from the one he used when he was walking more than six batters per nine innings at low Class A Lake County. He has slowed his tempo a little early in his delivery as he gathers himself on the rubber before speeding to his release point. He breaks his hands a little higher when he takes the ball out of his glove, but otherwise, it’s still the same relatively easy, athletic delivery he’s always had.

    So what happened?

    “He’s an example of a guy who is a fantastic athlete,” said another team’s pro scouting director. “You can make adjustments to his delivery and he’s capable of picking them up.”

    “In Archer case the kid is so incredibly smart that he can pick anyway you adjust him mechanically, that was his separator,” said a pro scout from a National League team.

    Archer’s success is what teams hope to find from a young pitcher with excellent stuff and awful control. (J.J. Cooper - Baseball America - 3/25/2016)

  • August 28, 2016: Archer reached the 200-K mark for the second consecutive season after setting a club record with 252 in 2015. The only other Rays pitchers with multiple 200-strikout seasons were David Price and James Shields.

  • Entering the 2018 season, Archer a career record of 51-63 and 3.63 ERA, allowing 858 hits and 106 home runs in 967 innings pitched.
Fielding
  • Chris exhibits good athleticism. He moves around well, but is prone to errors.

  • He needs to do a better job of controlling the running game. (Spring 2013)

  • Archer has been used as a pinch-runner. He is very fast.
Career Injury Report
  • July 7-22, 2012: Archer was on the D.L. and missed two weeks of action due to a mild oblique strain.