Top 5: ‘Ace’ Pitchers in 2015 AL East

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Sep 16, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) throws a pitch during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

2) Chris Archer – Tampa Bay Rays

Bio: 27 y/o, 6’3”, 190 lbs

2015 Record – 12 Wins, 13 Losses

ERA – 3.28

FIP – 2.90

WAR – 5.3

K/9 – 10.70

IP – 212.0

“It Factor” – K Machine who is only getting better

The Tampa Bay Rays ace Chris Archer is cocky and confident for all the right reasons. His stuff is explosive and he has an uncanny and in many ways unmatched ability to generate big and undeniably awkward-looking swings and misses.

Actually, this list really isn’t reflective of anything at all, because Archer is in a different league than those who came before. Don’t believe me? His strikeout rate on the year was a career high 29% and his walk rate a career low 7.6%, the gulf between the two is simply exceptional and one of the best  you’ll see. His k/9 rate of 10.70 is on par with some top bullpen pieces and was also up there with some of his career best.

All started well for Archer and the Rays in April, as he saw the month in with a mere 0.84 ERA and boasted a faster than ever fastball (averaging 95.86 mph). His dominance continued in May and showed no signs of slowing in June, when he ran a ridiculous 46% strikeout rate. Archer’s dominance would continue unabashed until July when things started to unravel, if only a little bit.

Mixed in between outings of dominance were outings of being humbled. On July 8th Archer would hand the soft hitting Kansas City Royals 9 runs in 6 innings including 2 homers. On August 15th Archer would hand deliver another 8 runs to the Texas Rangers. This was isolated, but by September it was clear Archer was tiring as he was knocked around for a 6.58 ERA on the month, and thus he would finish and the Tampa Bay Rays would finish.

When all is said and done, Chris Archer has proved time again he has true top of the rotation stuff and he’s only getting better. Oh and he’s pitching for league minimum under team control until 2019. So there’s that.

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