May 21, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Alex Colome (37) talks with pitching coach Jim Hickey (48) in the dugout during the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
After starting the season on the disabled list, Colome has returned to the rotation and the results have been mixed so far. He has made five starts in 2015, and he has surpassed five innings just once. Even in that game, he was only left in to save the bullpen–he certainly wasn’t pitching well. Colome’s 4.81 ERA isn’t all that great, but his xFIP of 3.47 suggests he may have been a bit unlucky. Regardless, the concerns about his ability to go deep into games as a starter are one reason why Colome will ultimately land him in the bullpen.
Now that Colome is out of options, the Rays must keep him on the big league roster and can’t send him down to Durham to continue to work as a starter once Moore comes off the DL. Colome has always had a chance to be solid major league starter, but there was always the concern of him ending up in relief between his issues with durability and command. There is a good chance that Colome will soon end up in the Rays’ bullpen, and although he could return to starting at some later point, he may find a home in the relief corps.
Colome’s average fastball velocity in 2015 is at 95.02 MPH and move to the bullpen could allow his fastball to reach the upper-90’s. Add in Colome’s secondary pitches playing up in relief, and he could easily emerge as a late-inning option. Colome remains in the rotation for now, but as soon as the Rays get a starter or two back from the DL, he should be looking at a move to the bullpen, which might be a good thing with regards to his long-term success in the major leagues.
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