Tampa Bay Rays: Chris Archer being overvalued on the market?

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 15: Starter Chris Archer
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 15: Starter Chris Archer /
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Ervin Santana

Santana was originally signed by the Angels out of the Dominican Republic in 2000 at 17 years old. He worked his way up the Angels system, quickly establishing himself as one of the premium young arms in the game.

In 2002, Santana went 14-8 and struck out 146 over 147 innings in the Midwest League at 19 years old, earning him the #59 overall prospect ranking from Baseball America. He followed that up in 2003 by excelling in high-A and AA, posting a 2.80 ERA over 154 1/3 innings with 153 strikeouts, bumping up to the #29 overall prospect in the game.

Santana missed much of 2004 due to injury, but when he returned in 2005, he was excellent in AAA, nearly immediately earning his way to the big league rotation. He debuted with the Angels in 2005 at 22 years old, going 12-8 over 23 starts and 133 2/3 innings, with a 4.65 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, and a 47/99 BB/K ratio.

Santana struggled again with his control in 2006, though he did win 16 games, giving him the leeway to really struggle in 2007 before he was sent back down to the minor leagues with a 5.76 ERA in 150 innings.

Santana came out in 2008 and flashed the excellence his unpredictable young arm contained, going 16-7 over 32 starts, pitching 219 innings, with a 3.49 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, and a 47/214 BB/K ratio, earning his first All-Star game.

That first big season really showed the elite aspects of “Big Erv” when his slider was at its best and he could locate it well. Santana struggled with this inconsistency for four more seasons with the Angels.

He seemed to have something click, however, when he reached Kansas City in 2013, and he’s been an excellent inning-eater in a rotation ever since, and that is the player that compares well to Archer.

Taking bWAR into play, Santana certainly has more negative value seasons in his background than does Archer, but his peak seasons early in his career were better than anything Archer has produced. If you compare their first five seasons, Santana posted 8.2 bWAR compared to Archer’s 12.0. However, the last five seasons, Santana has posted a 14 bWAR.

So, he compares well to Vazquez and Santana…what should the true value be for Archer then in a deal?