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Matt Andriese Quietly Turning into Solid Option for Rays

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May 25, 2017; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Matt Andriese (35) walks back to the dugout after the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
May 25, 2017; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Matt Andriese (35) walks back to the dugout after the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Matt Andriese entered the 2017 season as the Tampa Bay Rays fifth starter. Surprisingly, he has been one of the more consistent members of their rotation.

Heading into the 2017 campaign, it seemed as though Matt Andriese’s grasp on a spot in the Tampa Bay Rays starting rotation was tenuous at best. The fifth starter, Andriese was likely in the rotation until one of the Rays top prospects, be it Jose De Leon, Brent Honeywell, or whoever, were deemed ready. Then, he would slot back into the bullpen, filling that long relief/spot starter role that he had over the past couple of years.

However, no one told Andriese that he was supposed to be a placeholder until the prospects were ready. Instead, the 27 year old righty is in the midst of his best season in the majors, having posted a 5-1 record with a 3.24 ERA and a 1.269 WHiP. In his 58.1 innings of work this year, Andriese has issued 21 walks, but he has also struck out 52 batters.

Currently, Andriese has established himself as one of the better pitchers on the Rays. His 121 ERA+ is the second best in the rotation, only four points behind Jake Odorizzi. Andriese’s 8.0 K/9 is tied with Austin Pruitt for the second best mark of any pitcher with at least ten innings. Considering the minimal expectations for Andriese at the start of the season, this production has been a pleasant surprise.

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Andriese has also been relatively consistent. He has pitched into the sixth inning in all but two starts. Likewise, he has allowed more than three earned runs in just two outings as well. While not all of these starts have been dominant, Andriese has been a solid part of the rotation.

As things stand, he has moved up in the pecking order. With Blake Snell continuing to fight his command and having been demoted to Durham, Erasmo Ramirez has taken over as the Rays fifth starter. If a change in the rotation is to happen, Ramirez would end up heading back to the bullpen, with Andriese getting a longer opportunity to prove that he should remain a starter.

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For now, Matt Andriese has proven that he belongs in the Rays rotation. When the season comes to a close, it would not be a surprise if he ended the season as a starter as well.

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