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Height/Weight: 6’3”/185 pounds
Drafted/Signed: 2006, fifth round (HS—Clayton, NC)
Double-A: 134.1 IP, 4.42 ERA, 4.52 FIP, 7.91 K/9, 5.36 BB/9, 0.74 HR/9
Triple-A: 13 IP, 0.69 ERA, 2.74 FIP, 8.31 K/9, 4.15 BB/9
Overview: Along with teammate Hak-Jue Lee, Archer was one of the key pieces in the trade that sent Matt Garza to the Cubs prior to the 2011 season. The right-hander features one of the best fastball-slider combinations in the minor leagues thanks to a lightening-quick arm.
Archer’s fastball sits in the 92-95 mph range, and he can dial it up to 97 or 98 without sacrificing his natural movement. His slider is a legitimate double-plus offering with extraordinary tilt that generates as many jelly-legs as it does swing-and-misses. He also throws a changeup, but struggles to throw it with consistency due to his naturally fast arm.
His mechanics completely fall apart at times, as he’ll lose a feel for the strike zone; he walked 86 batters in 146 innings in 2011. There’s no denying that Archer has the type of electric stuff to retire hitters at the big league level. However, he’ll need to show a hint of consistency in 2012 to continue his ascent to the Major Leagues. If his control continues to be a problem, look for Archer to transition to the bullpen, where his stuff suggests a career as a dynamic closer.
He should begin at Double-A for the second straight season, although it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s sent on a lower-level assignment to work improve his command.