The Rays will promote right-handed starter Alex Colome and add him to their bullpen, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter). The 24-year-old Dominican native ranked as baseball's No. 81 prospect prior to the season, per ESPN's Keith Law (Insider required and recommended).
The move is reminiscent of the Cardinals' promotion of Carlos Martinez earlier this month, although Martinez was recently optioned back to the minors to continue to develop as a starting pitcher. In 55 1/3 innings (10 starts) at Triple-A Durham this season, Colome has a 2.60 ERA, 9.9 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9. He first reached Triple-A as a 23-year-old last season when he finished the year by making three starts for Durham.
Colome, the nephew of former big leaguer Jesus Colome, has a "big arm" with a fastball in the mid-90s, an upper-80s cutter that "blows up bats" and a curveball around 80 mph with tight rotation, according to Law. Baseball America, MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo and Law all agree that there's a chance Colome ultimately ends up as a reliever. Law prefers to project him as a high-end starter, however, despite uncertainty surrounding his delivery and durability. While Colome failed to make the Top 100 list from BA or Mayo, BA ranked him sixth among Rays prospects, and Mayo ranked him 12th.
By calling Colome up now, the Rays run the risk of allowing him to achieve Super Two status if he never returns to the minor leagues. Assuming Colome is in uniform tonight, he will accumulate 124 days of service time this season. With the projected Super Two cutoff at two years, 119 days, he could end up in the top 22 percent of his two-to-three service class and reach arbitration four times instead of three. Any return to the minors would likely delay him from accumulating that much service time.