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Rays prospect spotlight: SP Matt Andriese

The righty had a solid season at Durham and an iffy one in the majors

Andriese had a strong season in the minors but home runs plagued him in the majors
Andriese had a strong season in the minors but home runs plagued him in the majors
Brian Blanco/Getty Images

After spending a full year in 2014 with Triple-A Durham, Matt Andriese made his major league debut in 2015 with middling results. He carried a 4.11 ERA and a 4.14 FIP. While his walk rate (6.4%) was above average, his strikeout rate (17.4%) was below average.

One thing he struggled with while pitching in the majors was allowing home runs. He allowed 1.1 home runs per nine innings. Since this team is deep on starting pitching, Andriese will most likely make his case out of the bullpen, meaning allowing home runs will haunt him even worse. He struggled with this issue in his 2014 campaign as well, so it's not as if this is new to Andriese.

While his pitching in the majors was iffy, he certainly showed he was above the competition in Triple A. Over 13 appearances (12 starts), Andriese had a 26% K% and a FIP of 1.94, which was lower than his ERA of 2.35. The dilemma of what to do with Andriese stems from his strength pitching in Triple A but his struggles in the majors.

Andriese has a little wackiness to his delivery but still has solid command of his pitches. His fastball sits in the low-90s topping out at 93 and Andriese started to develop a cutter/slider in 2014 that has developed into an above-average pitch. A solid changeup and a curveball that is mostly there to keep hitters honest round out Andriese's arsenal. Andriese has shown stamina, pitching six or seven innings on more than several occasions starting in Durham and coming out of the bullpen for as many as four innings out of the bullpen with the MLB team.

What to do with Andriese for the upcoming season will be an interesting debate. On one hand, he showed dominance over Triple-A hitters, but he also allowed home runs a bit too often. Andriese threw 130 2/3 innings between the minors and majors this year, so some rest is an obvious benefit before pitchers and catchers report in February for spring training. There, it will be pertinent to see if hitters are still squaring up on Andriese's pitches and hitting them out of the yard yard. To me, that is the key issue barring Andriese from seeing consistent MLB time instead of bouncing between between the Rays and Durham.