During drafts last year, many fantasy owners canvassed the White Sox bullpen targeting Alex Colomé and Kelvin Herrera . However, Colome won the job in the spring becoming one of 11 relievers to record at least 30 saves in 2019. He won four of his nine decisions with 55 strikeouts against 23 walks with a 2.80 ERA, 4.61 xFIP and 1.07 WHIP. Colome finished with a 45.2 ground ball percentage, 22.1 strikeout percent and 9.2 walk rate. This marks a downtrend in strikeout percentage by 3.4 points and his walk rate rose by almost two percent.

Protecting Colome’s ERA, a career low .215 batting average on balls in play. This sits more than 60 points below his career BABIP which means some migration to the mean could ensue. Although his swinging strike percentage and contact percent remained in line with past results, Colme’s indicators point to possible struggles in 2020.

According to Statcast, Colome allowed 170 batted ball events last year giving up 15 barrels (8.8 percent), an average exit velocity of 90.7 MPH and a 9.8 launch angle. His hard hit rate against of 41.2 percent also bears watching. For the third straight season, Colome used more cutters than fastballs as seen in his pitch plot:

Noting Colome’s drop in strikeout percentage, here’s his same chart with all of his swings and misses from 2019:

Relying on the bottom of the strike zone, Colome could not generate many swinging strikes at the top of or above the strike zone limiting his arsenal. His expected statistics yield a .244 expected batting average, .446 expected slugging and .327 expected weighted on-base average which finished 66 points over his actual. Possibly another sign of regression awaiting Colome. Here’s his zone profile courtesy of Statcast:

With his fastball, Colome owned a .597 expected slugging which explains why he relied so heavily on his cutter. Part of the migration to the mean occurred after the All-Star break last year. Colome recorded a 3.91 ERA with a 1.58 WHIP over his last 25.1 innings with a paltry 28:13 K:BB and 4.47 xFIP. During the season, his barrel almost doubled in comparison to 2018 which should signal the alarm.

Looking at his projections, Colome could remain in the closer role but it will be a slippery slope. First, here’s his projected numbers from three sites. Please note, ZiPS does not include saves as a part of its projection data:

  • Alex Colomé 2020 Steamer Projection - 3 - 3, 31 saves, 65 IP, 65:31 K:BB, 4.24 ERA, 1.33 WHIP
  • Alex Colomé 2020 ATC Projection - 4 -3, 28 saves, 64 IP, 64:23 K:BB, 3.88 ERA, 1.29 WHIP
  • Alex Colomé 2020 ZiPS Projection - 5 - 4, 59.2 IP, 57:21 K:BB, 3.92 ERA, 1.26 WHIP

When a closer’s best WHIP projection sits at 1.26, it may be time to let someone else incur the risk of taking him in drafts or auctions. Alex Colomé turned in a solid season but his poor second half combined with rising ratio statistics make him a risky proposition to remain in the role all of 2020. Based on his reduced strikeout rate with rising hard hit data, it’s time to get away from him a year too soon rather than a year too late.


Statistical Credits:




ATC courtesy of Ariel Cohen

ZiPS courtesy of Dan Szymborski