Tampa Bay Rays: Colin Poche to IL, Kevan Smith contract selected

Colin Poche #38 of the Tampa Bay Rays(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Colin Poche #38 of the Tampa Bay Rays(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

The Tampa Bay Rays learned yesterday that RP Colin Poche would miss the entire season with a torn UCL. He was placed on the 45-day IL.

The Tampa Bay Rays have lost one of their top promising young strikeout artists out of the bullpen. Left-handed reliever Colin Poche will be out for the entirety of the 2020 season and he may be in danger of missing all of the 2021 season if he elects to have the Tommy John surgery to repair the ligament.

Poche posted a 4.70 ERA last season but he was filthy. Many had him pegged as a breakout candidate in 2020 and as a future closer. In 2018, Fangraphs named Poche the most unhittable arm in the minors. 

Last season he struck out 72 batters in 51.2 innings pitched for the Rays. Poche was projected to be an important piece in a stacked bullpen that features Nick Anderson, Diego Castillo, and Jose Alvarado at the back end of it.

If Poche elects to have the operation over rehab, this will be the second Tommy John surgery of his career with the first one coming in college.

Tampa Bay Rays select contract of Kevan Smith

The Rays have placed him on the 45-day IL, meaning he will not take up a spot on their 40-man roster. In response, the team has selected the contract of catcher Kevan Smith.

Smith has been added to the active roster and will begin the season with Major League team. He has an opportunity to compete for playing time at catcher with Mike Zunino and Michael Perez.

Don’t forget, Smith was our prediction as Opening Day catcher against lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu.

"Tampa Bay Rays: Projecting the Opening Day lineup vs. Hyun-Jin Ryu"

Smith is an interesting player to watch. He profiles similar to a pre-Rays Travis d’Arnaud over his four major-league seasons. For his career, he has a triple-slash line of .304/.435/.439 against left-handed pitching.

During the televised intrasquad games the point was made that Kevin Cash loves the types of at-bats Smith consistently delivers, and then on cue, Smith fouled spoiled several great pitches by Tyler Glasnow, showing off his ability to frustrate pitchers and extend at-bats.

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Do you think Smith has a shot at starting on Opening Day over Zunino?