Alex Colome, RHP, 30-years-old
Chicago White Sox (31-34, 3rd in NL West)
Under team control via arbitration through 2020.
2019: 2.39 ERA, 0.72 WHIP, 8.20 K/9, 2.73 BB/9 in 26.1 IP
2018: 3.04 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 9.53 K/9, 2.78 BB/9 in 68.0 IP
Since his full-time switch into the Rays bullpen in 2016, Alex Colome has been a model of consistency at the backend of games for Tampa Bay and Seattle. In Colome, the Twins would be trading for an established closer. The White Sox acquired Colome from Seattle in exchange for Omar Narvaez in November of 2018, a very reasonable price for a high-end bullpen arm (although It should be noted that Narvaez is having a career year at the plate thus far in 2019, having amassed a 1.4 fWAR through his first 58 games played). Colome is earning around $7.3 million in 2019, and is under team control for one more full season in 2020 through arbitration (his age 31 season).
What’s to Like?
Colome has continued to put up excellent numbers for the White Sox in 2019. He is essentially a two pitch pitcher, featuring a four seam fastball and a cutter he throws at approximately a 40-60 ratio. Colome’s fastball tops out at around 94-95 mph range. Over the last 3 years only Edwin Diaz, Craig Kimbrel, Kenley Jansen, and Wade Davis have saved more games. This is in spite of Colome occupying a setup role to Edwin Diaz for Seattle for part of the 2018 season.
There are a ton of indicators that Colome may be due for a regression in the near future. His fastball is down over one mph on average in 2019 (that’s an especially big deal if you only throw two pitches). Additionally, Colome has benefited from a .117 BABIP (compared to a career figure of .279). Colome’s K/9 has dropped sharply, although this figure has varied widely in his strong 4 year run between 7.8-11.2 K/9. Colome has also seen about a 10% drop in GB%, a sharp uptick in HR/9, and his FIP (4.22) and xFIP (4.59) belie his sparkling 2.39 ERA. Perhaps most alarmingly, Colome has gone from allowing approximately 4% of the pitchers opposing hitters contact to be barreled, to 14.1% in 2019, which is a figure in the bottom 2% of the league. Colome might be a solid add for a contending team in 2019, but the Twins should stay well away.