Alex Koronis’ Voyage to Starting | The Process Report

Alex Koronis’ Voyage to Starting

Alternate title: Who is that guy near the top of the organizational strikeout leaderboard?

Selected by the Brewers in the 40th round of the 2006 draft, Alex Koronis elected against signing and honored his commitment to the University of Miami. Koronis would later transfer to the University of Tampa and served as closer prior to the Rays scooping him in the 11th round of the 2009 draft.

Through Koronis’ first two seasons in the minors, the Rays had him work almost exclusively out of the bullpen. He spent what was left of 2009 in Princeton, carving up less mature hitters on his way to 34 strikeouts in 27 2/3 innings. The organization placed him in Bowling Green for the 2010 season and watched as completed 85 innings in 43 games, striking out 100 even while walking 40 and hitting eight batters.

If it wasn’t evident from the workload, Koronis was not used as a typical reliever. Koronis made a number of two-to-three inning appearances, including an eight-game stretch to end the season where he recorded at least six outs per appearance—he even went over four innings in his final game of the season.

Perhaps, then, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Rays are trying him out in Charlotte’s rotation. Koronis officially made a start last May, but it doesn’t seem as if it had much bearing on the Rays decision, as it looks like a relief appearance to start a game. So far, Koronis has taken well to the rotation, as he has thrown 11 innings, struck out 15, walked one batter unintentionally (and another intentionally), and allowed six hits.

Listed at 6-foot-2 and weighing under 200 pounds, Koronis doesn’t have the typical starting pitching frame, but scouting reports have suggested he is athletic and can throw in the 90s. Perfect Game’s report from back in Koronis’ high school days make note of two breaking pitches—a low-70s curve and an upper-70s slider—but that information is severely dated and almost certainly out of touch with today’s reality.

Regardless, the Rays obviously had something in mind when they shifted Koronis to the rotation—even if only to fill a void—so to see him succeed in the early stages is encouraging, if not a sign of future success.

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