Alex Colome was one of the few pleasant stories for the Rays in 2016 following his sudden induction into the closer's role after Brad Boxberger suffered an abdominal injury in spring training. The 27-year-old impressively notched 37 saves in 40 chances, successfully converting 21 consecutive save chances to begin the campaign. Colome's body of work firmly entrenched Boxberger in a setup role upon his eventual return, and the same pecking order will apply entering next spring. Colome posted elite metrics in the categories of K/9 (11.3) and K/BB (4.73), while regularly firing a mid-90s fastball. Control was certainly another strong point, as the right-hander generated a solid 2.4 BB/9 and 1.02 WHIP. His upside may only be capped by the Rays' inability to frequently enter the late innings with leads to protect, but even a modest improvement overall could vault Colome into the elite 45-plus save range in 2017.
Colome, who was credited with a hold after getting one out on six pitches in Sunday's 10-3 World Baseball Classic victory over Team Colombia, was used in back-to-back games, a violation of the agreement team officials had with the Rays, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. The hard-throwing closer had fired 13 pitches over an inning while notching the victory in Saturday's comeback win over Team USA, and therefore was supposed to have the day off Sunday. However, the 28-year-old was utilized to get the final out in the sixth. Although it was a brief outing by any measure, the team may have something to say about it considering Colome's considerable importance to the Rays.
Colome was credited with the victory in Team Dominican Republic's 7-5 victory over Team USA in Saturday's World Baseball Classic matchup, giving up just one walk over an inning. Colome came on in the top of the eighth with Team Dominican Republic on the wrong end of a 5-3 score and worked around a walk in an otherwise clean frame. He then was put in position for the win courtesy of Nelson Cruz's three-run homer and Ketel Marte's solo shot in the home half of the inning. Colome got through the inning in just 13 pitches, with the strong showing an extension of the two perfect innings he'd already thrown in a pair of spring appearances for the Rays before the WBC.
Colome will play for Team Dominican in the WBC, Bill Chastain of MLB.com reports. The Rays' closer will thus be a part of Team Dominican's WBC title defense, joining a deep pitching pool that includes the Cardinals' Carlos Martinez and the Giants' Johnny Cueto as linchpins, and the likes of the Braves' Bartolo Colon and the Pirates' Ivan Nova as second-tier options. Colome was a revelation for the Rays last season in the closer's role after Brad Boxberger struggled with multiple injuries, successfully converting 37 of 40 save chances and posting a sparkling 1.91 ERA over 56.2 innings.
Colome will reportedly be part of the Dominican team at the World Baseball Classic, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. The Rays closer plans to soon start pitching in winter ball in order to be ready for his role as a potential closer for the Dominican club. Colome was a revelation for the Rays last season in the wake of former close Brad Boxberger's multiple injuries, converting 37 of 40 save opportunities while generating an outstanding 1.91 ERA and 1.02 WHIP.
Colome allowed a run on three hits while striking out two to blow the save in Sunday's win over the Rangers. He received the win after the Rays were able to plate a pair of runs in the 10th inning. After mowing down the side Saturday, Colome got himself into a jam by allowing the first two men to reach before Hanser Alberto tied the game with an RBI single. Despite finishing the season on a somewhat sour note, Colome was a revelation this season and made his first All-Star team while finishing with 37 saves to go along with a 1.91 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. After playing second fiddle on the depth chart to Brad Boxberger to begin the season, he should enter 2017 as the Rays' undisputed closer.