Prospect of the Day: Alex Cobb, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays
When the Tampa Bay Rays needed someone to make a spot start on Sunday (May 1st), they turned to rookie right-hander Alex Cobb. He didn't have a great debut, allowing four runs on four hits and four walks, fanning three, and was sent back to Triple-A Durham after the game. How soon will he return to the majors?
Other pitchers in the prospect-rich Rays system, such as Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore, and Jake McGee, sucked up most of the pre-season attention, but in some farm systems Cobb would rank as a top ten prospect. Originally a fourth-round pick in 2006 from high school in Vero Beach, Florida, Cobb has moved steadily through the Rays system with good success, including a 2.71 ERA with a 128/35 K/BB in 120 innings last year for Double-A Montgomery. This year he was 3-0, 2.05 in four starts for Triple-A Durham, with a 29/6 K/BB in 22 innings, numbers very much in line with his past performance.
Cobb works with an 88-93 MPH fastball, a strong curveball, average slider, and a very good changeup with splitter-like action. Although he walked four in his first start, his command and control were excellent most of the time in the minors and should be strong assets once he adjusts to major league conditions. Scouts project him as a number four starter, a guy who will eat innings and win if he has a decent team behind him, but if he fully maximizes his fastball command, he could exceed expectations. He'll definitely get more chances.