Previewing Matt Andriese
You saw Matt Andriese warming up on Opening Day. Here’s what you should know about him.
Andriese joined the Rays last year as part of the six-player trade that netted Brad Boxberger and Logan Forsythe. Unlike those two, Andriese spent the season in Durham, where he posted better statistics than Nate Karns, Alex Colome, and Enny Romero. Minor-league stats mean little as far as prospecting goes, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Andriese’s stock failed to ascend. In fact, he even went unranked by Baseball America—and their top-30 list didn’t reflect either the Wil Myers or Ben Zobrist trades.
The reason behind those snubs is Andriese’s lackluster stuff. He throws a handful of offerings that range from fringe- to above-average, including a sinker, cutter, and curveball. To Andriese’s credit, he knows the strike zone and has coerced more than 50 percent ground balls in each of his minor-league stops. Nonetheless, the overall package projects to something like an innings-eating, back-end starter—fine in a vacuum, but often not good enough to permanently crack the Rays’ rotation.
Perhaps the zaniest part of Andriese’s game is his low-tempo delivery. His arm action is long and gives left-handed hitters a good look at the ball, which could lead to platoon problems. What’s more is his arm stalls, as seen in these images (or in motion here and from the front here):
While that seems like a minor glitch, the hesitation is a concern because it could mean Andriese won’t be able to repeat his timing, leading to arm drag (the last frame) and poor location. Apparently that hasn’t been the case yet, since Andriese’s command is considered average or better. Once his arm does come forward, Andriese lands closed, a la Alex Cobb, and releases the ball from a three-quarters slot.
Overall, Andriese is unlikely to be a difference maker, or anyone’s favorite pitcher. The hope is that he can throw enough strikes and miss enough barrels to turn over a big-league lineup twice. From there, Kevin Cash will have to get creative with his bullpen to preserve a win.