It is clear at this point that Alex Colome has his flaws. This season was the first time since 2011 that he topped 100 innings in a year, with injuries and a drug suspension being major reasons why. Even when he is on the mound, his command is inconsistent and his secondary pitches could still use work. In 2015, he will 26 years old and out of options, and his time may have run out to reach his potential. Yet despite it all, Colome was ranked by Baseball America as one of the top 20 prospects in the International League at #15.
Alex Colome has been on the prospect radar for a long time. Colome was not a high-profile international signee, not signing until he was 18 years of age in 2007. Just one year later, however, he first appeared among the Rays’ top 30 prospects at #24, and that was only the start. In 2009, he was #7 in the system and #68 in all of baseball, and he hasn’t ranked outside of the Rays’ top 7 prospects since. This will be Colome’s sixth year as a highly-regarded minor leaguer, and there is an element of disappointment involved in that.
We have been saying the same thing about Colome forever. Here’s a portion of a Baseball America comment about Colome from one of the year, and good luck guessing what year it’s from.
"Colome’s fastball has great life and sits at 94-95 mph. He also throws a hard, slurvy breaking ball with plus tilt and a late, sharp bite. Developing a changeup will be imperative for him to remain a starter, though his fastball and breaking ball would be enough to play an important role in a big league bullpen. The key for Colome will be developing his control and command."
The fact that the comment says “develop a changeup” instead of “improve his changeup” hints that this scouting reports was from earlier on in Colome’s career. It was actually from Colome’s first year of being ranked, 2008. However, there is an incredible amount of universality between the different comments he has received over the years, and that isn’t really a good thing.
Despite it all, though, Alex Colome is a part of the Tampa Bay Rays’ future. He may not be a starter long-term, but a realistic worst-case scenario for him is that he becomes a useful reliever and he could very well be more. Colome hasn’t progressed as much as hoped, but it also says something that he is still relevant now and that does not appear likely to change. The Rays would have loved if Colome became a frontline starter, but they wish that every top prospect that does not develop as hoped turns out like Colome.