It's Not Time to Worry About Alex Colomé
Image courtesy of Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY SportsIt’s worth remembering what kind of pitcher Alex Colomé is, and that’s one that pitches to weak contact. In 2020 Colomé had only a 17.8 K% but was in the top 25% of the league in hard hit % allowed. The reason this is noteworthy is that on Opening Day Colomé allowed an average exit velocity of only 85.3 mph.
In terms of the skills that have made Colomé a superb reliever the last few years, everything looked fine. Perhaps the Twins would like to coax a few more strikeouts out of him to help escape some jams that come up, but in terms of stuff, Colomé was as advertised.
The real issue was pretty pretty obvious, and that was the defense we saw in the ninth inning.
I crack myself up. In all seriousness though these stats do tell a story. For as bad as Colomé appeared to be, it’s not like he gave up a homer like Hendricks did in his White Sox debut. He likely escapes unscathed with solid defense.
It would of course be insincere not to mention that Colomé was his own worst enemy on defense, as he committed the costly error that cracked the door open for the Brewers to eventually kick down. Throwing to second base with a three-run lead, one out and a runner on first is more of a mental blunder than a physical one. Colomé being the seasoned closer he is just had a brain cramp. It wasn’t pretty but it’s doubtful that such a mistake is likely to become a trend with Colomé unlike giving up a bunch of loud contact which may foreshadow future issues for example.
There was also a bit of bad luck involved in Colomé’s outing. I’m still not convinced the hit by pitch to Kolten Wong was worthy of awarding him first base. The ball clearly hit the knob of the bat in replay. Max Kepler also almost made a fantastic play on a ball with a 97% chance of being a hit which would have saved Colomé as well. It wasn’t an error on Max, but he did a great job of making it a catchable ball and couldn’t quite come up with it.
All of this to say that no, Alex Colomé is not toast after one appearance in a Twins uniform. We should not trade him for whatever we can get. The Twins bullpen is not already a dumpster fire. A mental mistake and a series of bad breaks led to a very unfortunate meltdown on Opening Day. All signs at this time point to Colomé being just fine. We may all be on the edge of our seats in his next appearance, but Alex Colomé will absolutely play a big role in the 2021 Twins bullpen.
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