Archer humble in face of AL ROY Award candidacy
Rays right-hander deflects credit, but rookie success speaks for itself
ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays right-hander Chris Archer has remained humble despite his success. After a stellar rookie campaign that has earned him a nomination for the Jackie Robinson Award for the American League Rookie of the Year, he deferred to teammate and fellow nominee Wil Myers when asked about who should win.
"I really feel like Wil's going to take the award home, and he deserves that," Archer, 25, said.
The Jackie Robinson Award, voted on by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, honors the top rookies from the AL and the National League. Voting took place at the end of the regular season, so postseason performances were not taken into account. The winners will be announced on Monday.
The other potential winner for the AL award is Detroit shortstop Jose Iglesias.
"Having that hardware would be really cool, but for me, being the only pitcher in the category lets me know I did my job, that I hit a goal I was striving for. That from [the voters] perspective, I was the best rookie pitcher in the league," Archer said. "That's all I can do. So honestly, like, I'm good. I'm good with coming in third place, because I was the only pitcher on the list."
Though Archer might think otherwise, he could take home the award based on his accomplishments in 2013. In his first extended action in the Majors, he went 9-7 with a 3.22 ERA in 23 starts. Among AL rookies, Archer ranked first in ERA, opponents' average (.226), complete games (two), shutouts (two), hits per nine innings (7.5) and WHIP (1.13). He was named the AL Pitcher of the Month and AL Rookie of the Month for July.
"I thought Arch had a tremendous year," said Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman. "The development year after year was extremely impressive, and not that surprising to those of us who spend a lot of time with him. Just the work ethic and the desire to continue to get better [are] off the charts, and so it's great to see guys like that rewarded with more success. And I think the scary part is [that] the arrow is still very much pointing up and that he has a chance to be a good bit better than he was this year."
Archer made an immediate impression on teammate David Price, the 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner.
"From the first time I met him, I could tell he was raised the right way, that's a big part of it," Price said. "I could tell he had the work ethic. The determination. He had that right mind-set to want to continue to learn and grow in the game of baseball. That's what he does -- he comes to the field every day to get his work in. He's a great teammate, he's a great person."
Typical of Archer, he credited his team for the recognition he and Myers have received.
"We wouldn't even be nominated for this award if we didn't have guys in the lineup for Wil, setting him up for good pitches, and guys playing defense behind me," Archer said. "So we can credit ourselves a good portion, but Wil and I don't forget that the reason we're here is because the team that we're on."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.