While we might still be just in the middle of February, the upcoming MLB season is starting to peak through the horizon, and Spring Training is now right around the corner. It is an exciting time for baseball fanatics like myself, and the Tampa Bay Rays have every reason to be excited as well as they go into another season projected as playoff contenders.
The Rays’ offense is far from overwhelming, but solid; it is no secret that they are led by their pitching staff. In 2013, they would be pleasantly surprised with the emergence of rookie starter, Chris Archer into the rotation. In 23 starts, he would go 9-7 with a 3.22 ERA. In a highly competitive AL East, this was quite an accomplishment and Archer looks to be a long-term middle of the rotation option in years to come for Tampa.
Archer features his fastball which tops out at 97 MPH, and a devastating slider that he lacks control with at times. However, when in command of this pitch he dazzles hitters with its strong velocity and sharp break. He would finish the season with a 1.127 WHIP in 2013 and a serviceable K/9 of 7.5, which is extremely good for a rookie and is likely to improve with time.
Sadly, his performance was overshadowed by fellow teammate, outfielder Wil Myers‘ rookie campaign, but Archer looks to have garnered enough attention to head into 2014 Spring Training with a firm grip on the fifth spot in the starting rotation.
The sky is the limit for Archer, and with the contract status of Rays’ ace David Price uncertain, with signs pointing to the club’s inability to sign him long-term, Archer is becoming increasingly more valuable to the organization.