Max Stassi & Matt Andriese: Deep League Wire by Mike Podhorzer May 30, 2018 Who needs a catcher? We all do! Find your new one here. In addition, jettison your 5.00 starter for this studly middle reliever. Max Stassi | C HOU | CBS 10% Owned As usual, an injury has opened up an opportunity for a player that now becomes a deep league recommendation. Brian McCann was just placed on the disabled list with right knee soreness and we don’t know yet how long he’ll be out. That means that his backup will now get a shot at regular at-bats. Stassi has posted strong results in his limited work, with a .386 wOBA and .225 ISO. He has shown good power in the minors too, so this isn’t out of nowhere. At Triple-A last year, he hit 12 homers in 241 at-bats, which is a mid-20 homer pace over a full season. That’s intriguing from the catcher slot. Of course, with power, comes flaws. He’s walked just seven times versus 29 strikeouts (that’s a 32.6% strikeout rate) and has managed to hit .300 thanks to an absurd .426 BABIP. He hits too many pop-ups and too few line drives to even post a league average BABIP, let alone one above .400! But whatever, he’s no long-term answer anyway. For now, you’ll get some power and he hits in a good lineup in a good ball park. Matt Andriese | P TB | 2% Owned It’s rare that I would recommend a pitcher who isn’t a starter or has a chance to become a team’s closer. But here I am doing that very thing. Did you realize that Andriese owns a 21.2% K-BB% and 2.93 SIERA? Now as a full-time reliever, he has nearly scrapped his cutter and curve ball and has relied on just his fastball and changeup. He has thrown the change 44% of the time, way up from his previous usage marks in the 25%-30% range. It makes sense, because not only has it always been his best swing and miss pitch, but it also consistently generated gobs of ground balls. A changeup that misses bats and induces grounders?! That’s elite. Even though he’s just a middle reliever, he has still racked up 34.1 innings, which puts him on pace for around 100. With starters going fewer innings, the gap between Andriese’s innings and a non-elite starter is now smaller, so the win and strikeout dings you would normally endure won’t be nearly as severe. And surprise, surprise, it’s possible Andriese earns a save here and there. The Rays have been the most interesting team in a while in its usage of their pitching staff. After they traded Alex Colome, we have all wondered who’s going to close for the team. In my mind, the answer is simply whoever is in the ninth during a save situation on that particular night. That could mean that Andriese earns that rare three inning save, simply because he pitched a clean eighth and ninth, and Kevin Cash decided to trot him back out for the ninth. I doubt he would care if it were a save situation. Those extended outings could also lead to a bunch of vulture wins, especially when the team’s starter fails to go five innings. If nothing else, you should get a solid ERA and WHIP and a good alternative when your mediocre starter has a bad matchup.