Archer heads group of 4 Rays on Classic rosters

Archer heads group of 4 Rays on Classic rosters

ST. PETERSBURG -- World Baseball Classic rosters were announced Wednesday and Chris Archer headlined a group of four Rays pitchers who will take part for four different teams.

Archer (United States), and fellow right-handers Alex Colome (Dominican Republic), and Jose De Leon (Puerto Rico), along with left-hander Jose Alvarado (Venezuela) all will take a leave from Spring Training to participate in this year's Classic.

• World Baseball Classic tickets

Archer went 9-19 with a 4.02 ERA in 33 starts and struck out 233 in 2016. Archer also logged a team-high 201 1/3 innings, making him the fourth Rays pitcher to record back-to-back seasons of 200 innings. He joined James Shields, David Price, and Matt Garza.

Over the last two seasons, Archer's 485 strikeouts are tied with Giants ace Madison Bumgarner for third in the Majors. Only Max Scherzer (560) of the Nationals and Chris Sale (507), formerly of the White Sox, have more.

His 19 losses led the American League and tied Shields of the Padres and White Sox for the most in the Majors. His combination of strikeouts and losses in one season has been reached by only three other pitchers in AL history, all Hall of Famers: Gaylord Perry (Indians, 1973), Ed Walsh (White Sox, 1910), and Rube Waddell (Philadelphia Athletics, 1904).

Colome emerged as the Rays' closer in 2016 as incumbent closer Brad Boxberger battled injuries. The Dominican native took advantage of his opportunity to earn a spot on the AL All-Star team. The right-hander converted 37 of 40 save opportunities (92.5 percent), ranking in a tie for fourth in the AL in saves and fifth in the Major Leagues in save percentage.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Colome was the first pitcher to save four consecutive games three times in a season since Eric Gagne of the Dodgers in 2003.

De Leon, 24, came to the Rays in the trade that sent second baseman Logan Forsythe to the Dodgers. He was rated as the Dodgers' No. 2 prospect, per MLBPipeline.com. He broke into the big leagues in 2016, going 2-0 with a 6.35 ERA through four starts in September.

• Rules for 2017 WBC

A native of Puerto Rico, De Leon was selected by the Dodgers out of Southern University and A&M College in the 24th round in the 2013 Draft. He owns a 3.35 ERA with 446 strikeouts through four seasons (67 games, 64 starts) in the Minors.

Alvarado, who hails from Maracaibo, Venezuela, has been in the Rays' system since 2012, posting an 8-19 record with a 3.61 ERA in 79 games (29 starts). He went 4-1 with a 3.06 ERA in 37 appearances for Class A Advanced Charlotte and Class A Bowling Green in 2016.

The World Baseball Classic runs from March 6-22. In the U.S., games will air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch, while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN will provide the exclusive Spanish-language coverage. MLB.TV Premium subscribers in the U.S. will have access to watch every tournament game live on any of the streaming service's 400-plus supported devices. Internationally, the tournament will be distributed across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio in territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan. Get tickets for games at Marlins Park, Tokyo Dome, Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Mexico, Petco Park, as well as the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, while complete coverage -- including schedules, video, stats and gear -- is available at WorldBaseballClassic.com.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.