When the Rays traded Matt Moore away, they were left with a seemingly big hole in their rotation considering how well he had been pitching before the trade. I say seemingly, because I think that Moore's replacement will put up very similar if not better prodcution. Matt Andriese was the logical replacement considering he started the season in the rotation. Before being moved to the bullpen, when Blake Snell got the call to the big leagues, Andriese compiled a 2.82 ERA and 3.24 FIP over seven starts on his way to a 5-0 record.
Andriese's start last Sunday was his second since re-joining the rotation after the Rays shipped Matt Moore to San Francisco at the trade deadline. On Sunday he pitched 76 pitches over 4.2 innings while giving up three earned runs, striking out five, and walking only one batter. In an interview after his start on August 2nd, Andriese said "being in the bullpen was a little tough, just didn't know when I was gonna be throwing much" and expressed his excitement to be back in the rotation.
.@RaysBaseball right-hander Matt Andriese discusses making his first start since late June.https://t.co/58cmDIOY8R— FOX Sports Florida (@FOXSportsFL) August 3, 2016
Andriese getting more starts is a good thing for the Rays as he has pitched to a 2.0 RA9-WAR this season (2nd on the team behind only Jake Odorizzi's 2.4) in part on the strength of his 5.0 wCT on his cutter which he throws 23.3% of the time. Among pitchers with 80 IP this season, his cutter ranks eighth, on par with Mike Leake and Johnny Cueto.
Since Moore's departure, he is the only Rays starter to have positive pitch values for all of his offerings, racking up a 3.5wFB, 1.2 wCB, and 6.4 wCH on FanGraphs to go with his 5.0 wCT, and you can see the cutter heavily featured in his starts:
His batted ball profile has been solid this season as well as he has a 46% GB% (3rd best for Rays starters) and a 35.3% FB% (also 3rd best for Rays starters). He has given up more hard hits than any other Rays starter at 34.6%, but so far he's done a good job of standing runners on base and not allowing runs.
That's because his cutter has an ability to pound the zone, and when it does get hit, it's typically for groundballs, easily gobbled up by the defense.
Andriese started throughout the minors, and he apparently prefers to keep starting during his time in the majors. He has shown a lot of promise this season as well as a willingness to play whatever role the team requires him to play. A case can easily be made that he should never have been bumped out of the rotation in the first place when considering how well he has pitched this season.
With a rotation of Archer, Odorizzi, Smyly, Snell, and Andriese the Rays should continue to receive good production out of their starting pitchers. Things could change, and Andriese could find himself back in the bullpen once Alex Cobb returns and Chase Whitley debuts, although Andriese has more than proven he deserves to take the mound every 5 games.
For now, Andriese is here to stay.