Chris Archer is primed for a bounce back season. Injuries have derailed the one time Tampa Bay Rays ace as recently as 2020, when he underwent thoracic outlet surgery.
This injury puts pressure on the arteries, veins and nerves in your upper chest and can even lead to numbness in the arm and hand. Some pitchers that have dealt with this aggravating injury are: Phil Hughes, Jaime Garcia, Chris Young and Chris Carpenter. But it appears that Archer is healthy again and is ready to contribute to a pitching staff.
Archer was acquired from the Rays by the Pirates in exchange for Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows and promising prospect Shane Baz. Brewers fans, be glad you don’t root for the Pirates because that was a miserable trade for the Buccos.
But it was a tough hand to be dealt for Archer as he was sent to a year in and year out cellar dweller team in Pittsburgh and then the injuries hit. Now he’s there for the taking in the free agent market, but did he show enough in his time in the Steel City to be a good target for David Stearns and the rest of the front office?
I would argue yes. The Pirates had Archer add a sinker to his repertoire, but he really struggled throwing that pitch and eventually he scrapped the pitch altogether. After getting rid of the pitch, he saw his strikeout percentage rise and his walk percentage decline along with a better first-pitch strike rate.
He throws a four seam fastball which he heavily relies upon that clocks in around 94 mph and a slider that is thrown very hard and generates a high percentage of fly balls and whiffs, which comes in at about 89 mph. Other pitches Archer uses are a changeup and a curveball.
It’s difficult to predict if Archer can get back to his old self after his most recent surgery, but it’s not a very big risk to take if you’re the Brewers front office. He won’t be demanding much of a salary and if he can get close to the strikeout percentage that ranked him in 74th percentile in 2019, he could be a huge piece for pitching coach Chris Hook’s staff.
He’s as good of a bounce back candidate as any, should be relatively cheap, and if the Brewers can find his old form, Archer would be a fantastic addition.