Chris Archer is not a man who is guarded with his words. He will talk with the media freely and do so with a lot of confidence. That faith in himself and his Tampa Bay Rays team-mates shined brightly on Saturday.
The 29-year-old pitcher believes the Rays could have the best starting rotation in all of baseball when the MLB season comes to an end.
"I know there are a lot of pitching staffs out there excited about what they have, but as far as our depth — one through seven, eight, nine, even 10 guys — we're going to have three or four guys in Triple-A who could be starting in the big leagues somewhere for somebody," Archer told reporters, via ESPN.
"I'll put it up against anybody's. And at the end of the season, we can look at the numbers and see how we all fared."
Tampa Bay feature a starting rotation with Archer, who is one of very few who have thrown more than 200 innings each of the last three seasons, Jake Odorizzi, Blake Snell, Nathan Eovaldi and Matt Andriese. It could also feature a combination of Brent Honeywell and Jose DeLeon, who have been Top 100 prospects for multiple seasons.
"We don't have to be anything more than what we are. But we have to produce, just like on the position-player side — offense, defense, everybody has to be clicking," Archer said. "We talk about that every year, but pitching is our strong suit, and we need to take full advantage of it."
There will be other teams who would disagree with Archer's assessment. Reigning World Series champions the Houston Astros feature a rotation with two Cy Young winners and a Cy Young contender, the Boston Red Sox have two of the best left-handers in all of baseball and another Cy Young winner as well, while the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Washington Nationals both expect to be great too.
Archer stands behind his statement though despite the competition.
"I say this every year, because we always have a special organisation when it comes to arms, but I'm willing to put it up against everybody in the league," Archer said. "And in order for us to back it up, we have to produce. I think everybody in here is capable of doing that."