As fantasy owners prepare for the second half of the baseball season, players are shaking off the rough patches and putting it all behind them. Owners are sifting through pages of players on the waiver wire, looking to see who is worth picking up. There is one name that should pop off the page if he’s available – Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer.
As one of the Rays’ best pitchers, Archer ended the first half on a good note. He finished 5-5 with a 3.41 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. He already matched his 2013 strikeout total with 101 and his 8.0 K/9 is much better than last season.
Archer’s last start was nothing to be desired, but he’ll shake that off when he takes the mound against the Minnesota Twins this weekend. Prior to that, Archer pitched in 45.1 innings, allowing 34 hits while striking out 35 batters with a .211 opponent batting average and 1.99 ERA.
He’s currently owned in 88 percent of ESPN.com leagues. One reason is because pitchers keep getting injured and the position is shallow. A second, and more logical reason, is that Archer is the real deal. He has much better command of the ball and is mixing up his pitches.
A matchup against the Twins is a good way for Archer to begin the second half. The Twins rank 20th in batting average and 25th in slugging percentage. Minnesota has little to no power, with Brian Dozier the only one with double-digit home runs and more than 40 RBI.
If Archer is available in your league, pick him up. He will have a sub-3.00 ERA in the second half, win seven or eight games and strike out another 100 batters.