Five Pittsburgh Pirates Players That Need To Step Up In 2019
Starting pitcher Chris Archer
At last season’s non-waiver trade deadline the Pittsburgh Pirates made an unexpected splash. In a non-Pirate like move, the Bucs went all in by trading Austin Meadows, Shane Baz, and Tyler Glasnow to the Tampa Bay Rays for Chris Archer.
Last season, Archer was the big fish available on the starting pitcher market at the trade deadline. When Neal Huntington and the Pirates acquired Archer it was with an eye turned toward 2019 and beyond, not just the remainder of the 2018 season.
After a slow start to his Pirate career, Archer finished the season strong. In the month of September Archer posted a 2.70 ERA and a 3.49 FIP in five starts. In these five starts he allowed just four home runs, and he owned a 30.5% strikeout rate and a 7.6% walk rate in 30 innings pitched.
During his strong September Archer looked like the pitcher that was a multi-time All-Star in Tampa Bay. And this was something that was great to see for manager Clint Hurdle, the Pirates, and their fans.
The Pirates’ rotation has a bonafide ace in Jameson Taillon at the top. Trevor Williams and Joe Musgrove gives the team a good pair of middle of the rotation arms, and, as we’ll get to later, the fifth spot remains in flux. Archer has all the tools needed to pitch like a top of the rotation starting pitcher and he has done it before. Since the start of the 2014 season Archer is 15th in MLB in starting pitcher’s fWAR (18.4) and fifth in strikeouts (1,059).
In 2019, the Pirates need Archer to be that pitcher and to join Taillon in anchoring the team’s rotation. The Bucs will need the Archer they got in September for all six months of the 2019 season.