Looking Back, Moving Forward: Alex Colome

By Drew Jenkins

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout his career Alex Colome as been metioned as one of the Rays’ better pitching prospects. However, struggles with commaning his pitches has held Colome back his entire career, and is the main reason he has never been lised as the Rays’ top pitching prospect. In 2013, though, Colome gave Rays’ fans a reason to be excited about his future.

Colome spent most of 2013 in Triple-A and was extremly good. In 70.1 innings, Colome threw to a 3.07 ERA with 72 strikeouts against 29 walks. While his 3.7 BB/9 ratio was still higher than the Rays would like, it was an improvment on his 2011 and 2012 seasons. Colome also made three major league starts, electrifying everyone with 5.2 strong innings in his first starts before taking a step back in his subsequent two. In his three starts in the majors, Colome pitched to a 2.25 ERA, although his run average, counting unearned runs, was 4.50. True to his repuation, Colome did walk 9 batters in 16 innings pitched. After a promising first half of the season, Colome went down with an elbow strain that was at first labeled as mild. However, after landing on the DL, he did not throw a pitch the rest of the year, and finished the year on the 60-Day DL. The Rays have not released much information on his injury, but the fact Colome has avoided Tommy John surgery is a good sign. In all likeliness, the Rays were just being overly cautious with their young pitcher, as he is expected to be healthy for the start of 2014. Had Colome been healthy, he would have been in he bullpen in September to help the Rays playoff push. But the value that would have come from Colome spending a month in the bullpen was not worth the risk of making a mild elbow injury a major one.

Colome has a bright future ahead of him. After pitching well in 2013, Colome will look to take over a starting spot for the Rays in the near future. In 2014, Colome will likely start in Triple-A again. After missing time with injury, Colome needs to get back on track before he receives real consideration for a spot on the Rays’ big league league pitching staff. The Rays will be cautious with Colome to start 2014 due to his injury, but as long as Colome can prove himself healthy he is not far off from being a major contributor. Colome has electric stuff, showing a mid-90’s fastball and a pair of effective secondary pitches in his changeup and slider, and if Colome can continue to improve on his command, he certaintly has a rotation spot waiting for him at some point. However, if his command regresses from his 2013 season, Colome is more likely heading for the bullpen, where his arsenal could make him a late-inning arm. The Rays will certaintly give Colome the chance to start after seeing firsthand just how good he can be.

Colome’s 2013 season was bittersweet. While he began to show flashes of improving his command, Colome also went down with an elbow injury, something that is always concerning for a young pitcher. However, Colome is expected to be healthy for the start of the 2014 season, and looks to get back on track. Colome is not far off from making an impact in the big leagues. Hopefully he can continue to better his command and become a good starting pitcher, but if not Colome still has a promising future as a reliever. Either way, Rays fans should be excited about Colome’s future realizing that the Rays have found themselves yet another quality young pitcher poised to make his presence fealt.