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Bucco Breakfast: Inside Chris Archer’s 2018 Strikeouts

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How did Pittsburgh’s big fish comprise his strikeouts

MLB: Miami Marlins at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates reeled in their big catch at the 2018 trade deadline. From that date forward, Chris Archer struck out 60 hitters across 10 starts.

Welcome to Bucco Breakfast, a new daily morning feature designed to help Pittsburgh Pirates fans through the offseason. Each day we’ll roll out a quick topic designed to spark conversation as well as provide some interesting baseball reading from around the web.

For this week’s Bucco Breakfast menu, we will look at how each Pirates’ starting pitcher earned his strikeouts in 2018. We previously took a look at Jameson Taillon, and today we will turn our attention to Chris Archer.

Pitch Types and Location

Archer famously came to the Pittsburgh Pirates with a built-in out pitch — his slider. That reputation seems to be well-earned when looking at the strikeouts he accumulated during his initial Pirates run:

We talked yesterday about how Taillon’s 2018 strikeouts fit the mold of how one would expect a pitcher with Taillon’s arsenal to compile his punchouts. Archer is typical of a pitcher that relies on a four-seamer/slider combo, almost to a fault. If we widen this look to the past four seasons (2015 through 2018), we see much of the same:

Is this repetitiveness a problem? Well, no not really, provided that Archer maintains movement on that slider. He has clearly done so, striking out at least 25.4 percent or more batters per season each of the last four years.

Predictability is not always a precursor to losing effectiveness. Some of the best pitchers have seen success with a limited arsenal. As long as his stuff plays, Archer’s strikeout totals should as well.

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