Tag: Alex Cobb

Alex Cobb Trade Rumors: Latest News, Speculation on Rays SP

Alex Cobb has been one of the Tampa Bay Rays’ best starting pitchers when healthy, so if the team wanted to explore a trade market for him, it would certainly be robust. 

Continue for updates. 

Rays Not Shopping Cobb

Sunday, Feb. 7

According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, Cobb has generated “quite a bit of interest” from teams, but the Rays “are likely” to keep their young pitching staff intact heading into the season.   

Health is a key point for Cobb this season. He missed the entire 2015 season after starting the year on the disabled list with elbow problems that led to Tommy John surgery in May. 

The 28-year-old will make his return at some point early in 2016, joining a talented Tampa Bay rotation that includes Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, Nate Karns, Drew Smyly and Matt Moore. 

Cobb looked like the Rays’ ace-in-the-making during 2013-14, posting a 2.82 ERA and 283 strikeouts in 309.2 innings.

The problem he faces in 2016 is that he’s never been able to make it through an entire season unscathed. He has yet to make 30 starts in a season, and his career high in innings pitched is 166.1 (2014), so there’s plenty of room for improvement even as he’s capable of dominating over 20-25 starts. 

While the Rays are always facing financial restrictions, there is no urgency to trade Cobb right now. He’s under team control for two more years and is making only $4 million in 2016, so he can be one of the best bargains in baseball if he posts his 2013-14 numbers over 20 starts this year. 

If the Rays get off to a slow start in the American League East this season, Cobb’s availability may change around the trade deadline. 

For now, though, he has every reason to expect that he will be starting 2016 in a Tampa Bay uniform.  

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Another Ace Bites the Dust as Tommy John Halts Alex Cobb’s Great Young Career

As if anyone needed further confirmation that no pitcher is safe from Tommy John surgery in today’s MLB, another ace has bitten the dust.

This time, it’s Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Alex Cobb. And while that’s a shame in and of itself, what makes it an even bigger shame is that his career as an ace was just beginning to take off.

If you haven’t yet heard the bad news, the Rays tweeted it out late Friday afternoon:

This, granted, doesn’t come as a surprise.

The writing was on the wall Thursday. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported the 27-year-old Cobb was going to try the rest-and-rehab approach to healing the partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, but also that Tommy John remained a possibility.

“Whether it’ll take that long on my end I dont know,” said Cobb. “I’m still weighing my options. I’m still going back and forth of what I want to do.”

Wherever there’s a torn UCL, Tommy John does indeed have a strong track record of going from an option to a necessity. Cobb is now just one of many pitchers who can vouch.

And now that the decision has been made, the Rays’ chances of making it back to October have certainly been dealt a blow. In Cobb, they’re losing a guy who had a 2.82 ERA across 49 starts in 2013 and 2014. Guys like that tend to come in handy in a pennant race.

But don’t just feel bad for the Rays. Also feel free to light a candle for yet another ace claimed by the Tommy John menace.

This year alone, Tommy John has already claimed the elbows of Yu Darvish, Zack Wheeler, Brandon McCarthy and Homer Bailey. And so it goes, as this year’s sacrifices are coming on the heels of Matt Harvey being lost late in 2013 and Kris Medlen, Jarrod Parker, Patrick Corbin, Matt Moore and Jose Fernandez being lost in 2014.

And that’s really just a small taste of the big picture.

There’s a complete list of Tommy John surgery victims available at Baseball Heat Maps, and 295 of the 972 victims on it have fallen prey to the menace since 2012. That’s roughly 30 percent, which is quite a lot for less than a three-and-a-half-year window.

It’s an epidemic, all right, and not one that’ll be easy to stop.

At the major league level, teams need to start worrying about mechanics at least as much as they’re already worrying about pitch counts. Down below the major league level, MLB needs to hope its “Pitch Smart” campaign catches on and rescues youth baseball players from having their arms abused.

Either way, you’re not looking at quick fixes. The Tommy John problem will not be solved overnight.

All we can really do now is lament the ones we’ve lost. And in Cobb, we’ve lost a good one.

It’s fair to say Cobb came out of nowhere. He was only a fourth-round draft pick in 2006, and at no point in his minor league career was he considered a top prospect. He also failed to impress in his first 21 major league starts between 2011 and 2012, posting a modest 4.28 ERA.

But Cobb started to gain some momentum late in 2012, posting a 3.09 ERA and striking out 57 to 17 walks in 67 innings over his final 11 starts. And though he largely did it under the radar, he rode this momentum to becoming one of the American League‘s most effective pitchers in 2013 and 2014.

As ESPN Stats & Information observed:

That ERA was no joke, either.

Between 2013 and 2014, Cobb struck out over eight and walked fewer than three batters per nine innings. He also manipulated contact well. According to FanGraphs, his 56.0 ground-ball percentage ranked second, and he was also in the AL’s top 15 at limiting hard contact.

Cobb was able to do all this mainly through his craftiness. He only threw his sinker in the 91-92 mph range, but Brooks Baseball can show how he consistently used it to flirt with the edges of the strike zone. 

That way, Cobb could set up hitters for his curveball and splitter, which accounted for nearly 60 percent of his pitches. Of the two, his splitter was especially deadly. 

“It stays in the strike zone for so long,” Cobb told Eno Sarris of FanGraphs last year. “At the point where they have to commit as a hitter, it’s still in the zone.”

Here, behold an illustration of the concept:

What you see are a lot of weak swings outside the strike zone. And more than anything, those represented the real danger of facing Cobb. Between 2013 and 2014, the only AL pitcher who got hitters to chase more than Cobb was Hisashi Iwakuma.

Such is what we’ll be missing while Cobb is away. He was quietly one of the best pitchers in the Junior Circuit over the last two-plus seasons, and he did it by generally baffling opposing hitters every which way from Sunday. Without him pitching every fifth day, the AL East isn’t going to be as much fun.

Cobb will be back, of course. Probably some time late in the 2016 season, at which point he could be a much-needed rotation boost to the latest pennant-seeking Rays team. At least they have that to look forward to.

In the meantime, we watch and wait for the next Tommy John victim. The menace has claimed many in the last couple of years, and there’s no reason to believe it’s satisfied now. For reasons we discussed earlier, the end of the Tommy John epidemic likely isn’t a matter of days or weeks or months away, but years.

All pitchers should be warned. Tommy John has come for Alex Cobb, and it could come for you, too.


Note: Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted/linked.

If you want to talk baseball, hit me up on Twitter.

Follow zachrymer on Twitter

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Alex Cobb Injury: Updates on Rays Pitcher’s Elbow and Recovery

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Alex Cobb has a partially torn ligament in his right elbow and may need season-ending surgery. 

Continue for updates.

Cobb May Need Surgery

Tuesday, May 5

Yahoo! Sports passed along the details of the injury:  

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times noted Tuesday that Cobb’s season is “very much in jeopardy.”

Topkin also reported that an MRI revealed the partial tear in the ligament, although Cobb will attempt to pitch with the injury after a program of rest and treatment. However, if that doesn’t work, he may need Tommy John surgery and could miss the rest of the 2015 campaign and most or even all of the 2016 season.

It is certainly a high-risk, high-reward play, and Rays fans will be holding their breath.

Cobb has not pitched a single inning this year because of a forearm injury, which is a difficult blow for a Tampa Bay squad that planned on using him as an ace.

ESPN.com noted that the Rays canceled his throwing session on Sunday, according to manager Kevin Cash: “He just didn’t feel as good as he was hoping. Any time you’re dealing with a pitcher’s arm, it’s obviously concerning.”

Cobb started 27 games last season and finished with a 2.87 ERA and 1.14 WHIP.

The hope was that the 27-year-old would take yet another jump this season and become one of the best pitchers in the American League for years to come. Now there is concern that he may never be the same.

Tommy John surgery is a scary proposition for pitchers, and it could impact him moving forward for the rest of his career. He is only 27 years old, but if he needs surgery, he could be looking at the 2017 season as the next time he takes the mound.

That would mean multiple years off (and multiple years of aging and accumulated rust), and his status as an ace in the American League East would be in serious jeopardy.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Alex Cobb Injury: Updates on Rays Star’s Arm and Return

The Tampa Bay Rays pitching rotation is not a picture of perfect health, and it took another hit in the form of Alex Cobb.

Continue for updates.

Cobb to Miss Time with Tendinitis

Tuesday, March 17

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported Tuesday that “the tightness in Alex Cobb’s right forearm that forced him from Tuesday’s game has been diagnosed as tendinitis, which is relatively good news but seems likely to keep him from making his Opening Day start.”

Cobb was pitching against the Philadelphia Phillies Tuesday before he was forced to exit and undergo an MRI. Topkin noted that Cobb could miss the first few weeks of the season.

The Rays will also be without Matt Moore until June at the earliest, Drew Smyly until mid-April and Alex Colome for an indefinite amount of time. There are certainly jobs available for the time being in the Tampa Bay rotation.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Approves Protective Caps, but Will Pitchers Actually Wear Them?

In the aftermath of significant, life-threatening head injuries suffered by pitchers, MLB has informed its 30 clubs that padded caps have been approved to provide some head protection against line drives flying back at the mound.

According to ESPN’s Outside the Lines, a product, with help from the Players Association, has been launched with the purpose of protecting pitchers. 

Now, a new task emerges for the sport: Convincing pitchers to wear the product on a daily basis.

The announcement, although exciting and important, is just the first step. 

Dan Halem, MLB executive vice president for labor relations, was ecstatic about the potential for safety and future growth of the technology.

“We’re excited to have a product that meets our safety criteria,” Halem told Outside the Lines, adding that baseball will continue its efforts to come up with more options. “MLB is committed to working with manufacturers to develop products that offer maximum protection to our players, and we’re not stopping at all.”

Per the OTL piece, five pitchers—Oakland’s Brandon McCarthy, Houston’s Mickey Storey, Detroit’s Doug Fister, Toronto’s J.A. Happ and Tampa Bay’s Alex Cobb—were hit in the head with batted balls between Sept. 5, 2012 and June 15, 2013.  

In the span of less than one year, five pitchers, including Fister on the World Series stage, had their lives hang in the balance when a baseball came careening at them, affording even top-tier athletes little time to move out of the way.

While the rash of pitcher injuries grew in a quick span, the issue for Major League Baseball has been around for years. From San Diego’s Chris Young to Houston’s Billy Wagner to Boston’s Bryce Florie, the sight of a bloodied, dazed pitcher walking off the mound is all too familiar to baseball fans.

Unfortunately, the names listed above and video evidence of unsightly and grotesque injuries won’t change the mindset of some pitchers.

Amazingly, despite falling victim to one of the most famous incidents in the history of batted-ball injuries, Brandon McCarthy didn’t react positively to the new technology. As he told Jayson Stark of ESPN, the new cap is “too big” and doesn’t “pass the eye test.” 

In sports, comfort trumps safety. For an athlete to perform best, mental and physical comfort is a necessity. In the NFL, it’s routine to see skill players (wide receivers, running backs, defensive backs) eschew standard padding for more comfort and the perceived ability to move more fluidly.

The new caps, per OTL, will have seven ounces of weight more than the prior, non-padded cap. That may seem like a small amount for peace of mind, but could be looked at as another obstacle or distraction in a craft that desperately attempts to simplify things. 

While some pitchers will adopt and adapt early in the name of safety, not everyone will be willing to go the extra mile for peace of mind.

Alex Cobb, one of the recent line-drive victims, spoke about his incident as a “pink elephant” (video below, per MLB.com) and references the need to put worry and fear out of sight and out of mind. If that mindset is prevalent among pitchers with a past injury, they may not want to be reminded of it every time they put on their cap. 

Comfort issues can be overcome, but knowing that protective head gear is in the cap could lead pitchers to thinking about the possibility of being struck. If that thought process begins, it’s unlikely many pitchers would jump at the chance to wear the new technology.

When asked by OTL if he would wear the cap, J.A. Happ, despite his recent injury, wasn’t sure due to the feel and comfort.

“I’d have to see what the differences in feel would be. Does it feel close enough to a regular cap? You don’t want to be out there thinking about it and have it take away from your focus on what you’re doing.”

Furthermore, if the cap looks different or fits atop a pitchers head strangely, jokes will ensue. In 2009, on the path back from a concussion, New York Mets third baseman David Wright wore a new helmet designed to keep him safe in the event of another erratic pitch striking him in the head. 

When he took the field looking like a bobble-head, the commentary and comedic banter commenced among the media and fans.

Although the new, padded cap will be bigger in weight, it won’t be a gigantic version of the old caps, thus a David Wright situation is unlikely to occur. Still, some players won’t be receptive for reasons of comfort or the inability to block out why a padded cap is necessary.  

In time, the sport could consider making the new equipment mandatory, but until then it’s impossible to predict how many pitchers will actually wear the new gear. Hopefully, protected or not, baseball doesn’t go through another year of scary moments on the mound.

Yet, as morbid as it may sound, one of the only ways for the message to get across is more instances of injury to pitchers during game action.

This announcement is a major step for the long-term safety of pitchers, but it’s only one step. The key will be in convincing pitchers of how important the new technology may be in saving careers and lives.  

Comment, follow me on Twitter or “like” my Facebook page to talk all things baseball. 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

AL Wild Card Game 2013: How the Rays’ Pitching Will Prove to Be the Difference

The Tampa Bay Rays will travel to take on the Cleveland Indians in the 2013 American League Wildcard Game on October 2.

While both teams are evenly matched in many ways, Tampa Bay’s pitching—both their overall rotation and bullpen—will prove to be the difference in the one-game showdown.

The Rays will start Alex Cobb, which bodes well for Tampa considering that his counterpart, Indians pitcher Danny Salazar, began the 2013 season with Cleveland’s AA affiliate.

Considering how well Cobb has pitched this season, the matchup edge is clearly in favor of the Rays.  All Cleveland can hope for is that Salazar is too unknown a product for Tampa Bay to cope with.  That is a lot to ask for considering his lack of experience.

The Indians do boast an impressive lineup, and Cobb will have to do his best to shut them down.  This will not be an easy task, yet considering how well he has pitched down the stretch, Cleveland should have their hands full.

If the Rays are able to maintain a lead heading into the latter innings, they can count on a solid bullpen consisting of guys like Jake McGee, Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney.  Alex Torres is Tampa Bay’s best middle-relief option having posted a 1.71 ERA in 58 innings.

While Rodney has been a little shaky during the season, the rest of these players are solid in shutting the door over the final three innings.  If Cleveland is trailing going into the seventh, their night could be all but over.

On the other hand, the Indians do not have an established closer, although Joe Smith, who has a 2.29 ERA with 54 strikeouts in 63 innings this season, may be their best option if the game is close.

If pitching wins championships, Tampa Bay has it for Wednesday and Cleveland does not.  Both have respectable lineups, yet the pitching will prove to be the vital factor.

For the Rays, it should be enough to get them beyond this one-game playoff.


All statistics and accolades courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.

Peter Panacy is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report.  Follow him @PeterMcShots on Twitter.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Alex Cobb’s Head Injury Should Prompt MLB to Protect Pitchers Now, Not Later

A little over a month ago, Toronto Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ took a wicked line drive to the head off the bat of Tampa Bay Rays hitter Desmond Jennings. Fortunately, Happ suffered just a contusion and laceration to his left ear and was released after an overnight stay in the hospital.

Bleacher Report MLB lead writer Zachary Rymer wrote an article immediately after the chilling incident, calling for MLB to stop pressing its luck and introduce protective headgear for all pitchers.

With the latest injury suffered by Rays pitcher Alex Cobb, that time is now.

MLB can’t afford to wait any longer.

In the top of the fifth inning in a game between the Kansas City Royals and Rays on Saturday, first baseman Eric Hosmer shot a line drive up the middle, striking Cobb in the area around his right ear. Cobb immediately dropped to the ground, grabbing the right side of his head.

He was carted off the field on a stretcher and taken to Bayfront Medical Center for evaluation.

Within minutes, Twitter was flooded with calls for MLB to do more to protect pitchers.

It seems obvious that fans are sick of MLB’s relatively slow pace in taking action, especially considering the injuries suffered by Happ earlier this season and Brandon McCarthy of the Arizona Diamondbacks last September. McCarthy underwent brain surgery and has suffered from seizures as a result.

As one baseball fan eloquently tweeted, the sport doesn’t need to wait until a pitcher dies before taking steps to protect pitchers.

William Weinbaum of ESPN pointed out that MLB had been considering and testing padded caps, but that as of spring training, officials weren’t satisfied with the designs being tested. Part of the problem, though, is that MLB must present options to the players union for approval first, and the testing of the caps at the time was said to be voluntary.

This shouldn’t be voluntary—protective headgear for pitchers needs to be mandatory.

It took until the 1950s for MLB to require batting helmets—a full 30-plus years after Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Indians was killed after taking a pitch to the head.

Modern-day baseball doesn’t need to wait that long to institute mandatory protection for its pitchers. The incidents involving McCarthy, Happ and now Cobb should be more than enough evidence that the time is now.


Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.

Feel free to talk baseball with Doug anytime on Twitter.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Alex Cobb Sets MLB Record by Striking Out 13 Batters in Less Than 5 Innings

Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb didn‘t have the best night of his career on Friday, but the young right-hander still managed to make major league history.

Facing off against the San Diego Padres at Tropicana Field, Cobb sprayed five hits and gave up three earned over just 4.2 innings of work. 

Even though the 25-year-old couldn’t keep the Padres off the scoreboard, he did manage to make plenty of them miss. Cobb struck out 13 batters in his short time on the mound—12 of which went down swinging. 

According to Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times, Cobb’s 13 K’s on Friday make him the first pitcher in Major League Baseball history to ever strike out that many in fewer than five innings: 

The problem for Cobb, though, was that he didn’t get a lot of three-pitch strikeouts. Struggling a bit with location, Cobb walked two batters and ran up high counts before fanning the opposition. Rays manager Joe Maddon was forced to pull Cobb from the contest after he racked up 117 pitches.

The Tampa Bay skipper will undoubtedly be looking for more efficiency from his burgeoning star the next time out. 

Nevertheless, this is just the latest indication of Cobb’s prodigious talents. A highly touted prospect in the Rays system, this season has seen Cobb start to truly blossom. 

Heading into Friday night’s start, Cobb had posted a 4-2 record with a 2.79 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. His strikeout rate checked in at only 7.07 batters per nine innings, but that statistic stands to spike following such an outlier outing. 

Mixing his low-90s fastball and great off-speed stuff, Cobb made batter after batter flail at his out pitches. The only time San Diego seemed to make contact was when batters were taking advantage of Cobb’s mistakes. 

Still, he made too many and stands as the pitcher of record. Cobb was replaced by Josh Lueke in the top of the fifth. 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Tampa Bays Rays Prospect Alex Cobb Likely to Make MLB Debut Sunday

The Tampa Bay Rays may unveil another one of their stud pitching prospects on Sunday.

Thursday’s doubleheader against the Twins has shortened the Rays rotation, and long reliever/spot starter Andy Sonnanstine has been battling illness, leaving the team with no choice but to consider some options in the minor leagues.

Alex Cobb was to start for AAA Durham on Friday night, but was scratched from his start.

This has led to speculation that he could be called up to make his Major League debut.

Rays manager Joe Maddon has been tight lipped about what the team plans to do.

“I just can’t spill the beans yet,” Maddon said before Friday’s game.

Complicating the matter further is the pinkie injury of infielder Sean Rodriguez, and the imminent return of 3B Evan Longoria from the disabled list. 

I’m betting that Alex Cobb will be on the hill Sunday afternoon for the Rays, as Sonnanstine was warming in the bullpen during the 7th inning of the Rays 8-5 loss to the Angels.

Sonnanstine never entered the game, but this still may have tipped the Rays hand.

We’ll have to wait and see what the Rays do, but the team will definitely be making some roster moves in the coming days.

The 23 year old right-hander Cobb was a fourth round draft pick in 2006, and has had tremendous success at every minor league stop.

 At Durham so far in 2011, Cobb is 3-0 with a 2.05 ERA. He also has a tidy WHIP of 1.04 and 29 strikeouts in just 22 innings. 

If called up, it may be more than just a spot start for Cobb. With rookie left-hander Jake McGee struggling and showing erratic velocity, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Cobb get an extended look at the big league level in the bullpen.

Cobb, who was ranked as the Rays 16th best prospect by Baseball America, features a low 90’s fastball amongst his four pitches.

He also has a plus changeup, an above-average curveball, and a decent slider.

The development of Cobb, Alex Torres, Matt Moore and Chris Archer have left the Rays with a stockpile of near ML ready starting pitching. Depending on how the season goes, several of these pitchers may find themselves pitching in the Majors very soon.

James Shields or Jeff Niemann could be dealt to get another bat to protect Evan Longoria, leaving the Rays with several young arms to plug into the rotation.

It is a very good scenario for the Rays, who have a lot of options going forward.

I expect to see Cobb on the bump Sunday at Tropicana Field, but if not then, it shouldn’t be long before he is facing big league hitters.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress