Rays Prospects

Rays Winter Leagues Recap: Control Issues Don’t Stop Alex Colome

By Robbie Knopf
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There was a time when it was almost impossible to mention one of Alex Colome and Alex Torres without mentioning the other. They were the Tampa Bay Rays’ two pitching prospects with excellent stuff but control issues, with the only major difference between them being that Colome was a righty and Torres was a lefty.

The way they have been evaluated compared to one another has shifted dramatically over the years, with Torres going from apparent lost cause to dominant bullpen arm in the span of a year. Now, however, Alex Colome may finally have the edge. Colome looks primed to make an impact for the Rays in 2015 while Torres continues to struggle with his control. That was quite evident on Sunday, when Colome kept his location in check while Torres let the walks spin out of control.

Dominican Winter League: Toros del Este 5, Leones del Escogido 0

Alex Colome often beats hitters by overpowering them, but that is not his only formula to achieve success. In this game, Colome allowed 3 walks while striking out 1, a ratio which you would expect to accompany a weak outing. Instead, Colome went 6 innings for Escogido allowing 2 runs on 5 hits with the help of a 9-2 groundout to flyout ratio.

Colome has now delivered three straight strong outings after a clunker in his Leones debut and is now up to 137.2 innings pitched between Triple-A, the big leagues, and Winter Ball. Will Colome finish with enough innings for the Rays to entrust him with their fifth starter job in 2015?

Allan Dykstra went 0 for 2 with 2 walks for the Toros in their victory.

Aguilas Cibaenas 4, Tigres del Licey 3

Each team had a surprising performance from a player on the wrong side of 40. Manny Ramirez homered for Cibaenas while Ramon Ortiz went 5 innings allowing 2 runs on 5 hits, striking out 1 and walking 1 as well.

In regards to the younger players, Derek Dietrich went 1 for 3 with a double, a hit-by-pitch, and a run scored, Jose Ruiz had a pinch-hit single, and Braulio Lara retired both batters he faced.

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Mexican Pacific League: Caneros de los Mochis 6, Charros de Jalisco 0

Justin Christian went 2 for 5 with an RBI for the Caneros, extending his hitting streak to 12. He has been especially good over his last 8 games, hitting to a .406/.444/.469 line. HIs overall numbers tell you how much he struggled before this streak–he still has just a .591 OPS–but he is certainly making progress now.

Brendan Harris went 0 for 3 for the Charros in their loss as they were held to just 3 baserunners.

Venados de Mazatlán 4, Aguilas de Mexicali 2

Speaking of players on hot streaks, we have Olmo Rosario. He has no hit streak to speak of, but he went 1 for 3 with a walk and a run scored in this game to give him quite a run for his last 9 games. He has a .424/.474/.576 line with 5 doubles, 3 RBI, and 4 walks against just 1 strikeout.

Former Rays prospect Matt Gorgen had a strong appearance for the Aguilas, tossing 1.2 shutout innings allowing just a hit while striking out 1. He has a strong 0.96 ERA in 9.1 innings pitched, although his 3 unearned runs and 6-3 strikeout to walk ratio leave more to be desired.

Humberto Cota also appeared for Mexicali, going 0 for 3 with a walk.

Venezuelan Winter League: Tiburones de La Guaira 5, Caribes de Anzoátegui 3

Jesus Flores had a 2-run double in the 9th inning for the Caribes, but it was too little, too late as they fell to La Guaira. Miguel Rojas and Cesar Suarez were reasons that the game was out of reach to begin with, with Rojas going 1 for 3 with a triple, a walk, and 2 runs scored while Suarez went 1 for 2 with 2 sacrifice bunts and a run scored. Kind of strange to see your number five hitter bunt twice.

Rojas and Suarez have both been playing well of late, with Rojas hitting to a .294/.333/.412 line in his last 10 games and Suarez at .258/.378/.355. Joice Linares still has a shiny 0.00 ERA after his appearance for Anzoátegui, but he is lucky that he did not allow a run as he gave up 2 hits and a walk while recording just one out.

Cardenales de Lara 2, Leones del Caracas 1 (10 innings)

The story of this game was runners left in scoring position for the Leones as they went just 3 for 16 with RISP. Sure enough, Henry Rodriguez and Daniel Mayora had a combined 4 hits but no RBIs or runs scored. Rodriguez went 2 for 4 with a double and a walk while Mayora also had a 2-for-4 day with a walk, only without the double.

Mayora has been on fire of of late, hitting to a .320/.400/.720 line with 3 homers in his last 10 games.

Bravos de Margarita 4, Navegantes del Magallanes 3

Former D-Rays draft pick Daniel McCutchen did not have the type of debut he was hoping for with the Navegantes, going 3.2 innings allowing 3 runs on 4 hits, striking out 2 and walking 2. McCutchen has truly had a year to forget as he managed just an 8.13 ERA between the Triple-A affiliates of the Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles. He has to be hoping for better results than that in Winter Ball.

Taylor Motter also did not have a great game, going 0 for 2 with a walk, but a pair of Rays-related relievers did impress for the Bravos. Omar Bencomo worked around a hit and a walk to toss a scoreless 8th before Matt Nevarez tossed a perfect frame with a strikeout for his first save in the 9th.

Tigres de Aragua 3, Aguilas del Zulia 2 (10 innings)

To Alex Torres’ credit, he did allow just 1 run on 1 hit in 4.2 innings pitched, but the San Diego Padres can’t possibly be happy about this outing nonetheless. The reason: he walked an insane 6 and hit another batter while striking out just 3. He even threw a wild pitch. On the positive side, he did force an 8-1 groundout to flyout ratio.

Torres’ control unraveled for the Padres as he walked 5.5 batters per 9 innings, and things have only gotten worse in Winter Ball as he has walked an insane 7.8 per 9. That is quite reminiscent of Torres’ 2012 at Triple-A Durham when he walked 7.5 per 9 in 80.1 innings pitched–unfortunately, we’ve seen this before. Can Torres figure out where the ball is going again?

Hector Gimenez went 1 for 1 with a run scored after entered as a defensive replacement for Aragua while Jason Pridie went 0 for 3 for the Aguilas.

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