Cobb with the Tampa Bay Rays
|Baltimore Orioles – No. 17|
Born: October 7, 1987|
|May 1, 2011, for the Tampa Bay Rays|
|MLB statistics |
(through August 18, 2018)
|Earned run average||3.75|
Alexander Miller Cobb (born October 7, 1987) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the Tampa Bay Rays from 2011 through 2017, missing the 2015 season due to injury.
Cobb was born in Boston, Massachusetts to Lindsay Miller-Cobb and Rick Cobb. He lived in North Reading, Massachusetts, for the first two years of his life, when his family relocated to Vero Beach, Florida, due to employment. As a youth, Cobb served as a batboy for the Los Angeles Dodgers at Holman Stadium in Vero Beach for three years of spring training. He grew up a Boston Red Sox fan.
Tampa Bay Rays
Cobb was called up to the majors for the first time on May 1, 2011, and he made his major league debut that day. He was optioned back to the minors after the game. On May 31, Cobb was recalled back to the majors. On June 7, Cobb earned his first major league victory while starting for the Rays. Cobb pitched for 61⁄3 innings and the Rays defeated the Angels 4–1. In late July, Cobb began to experience numbness and swelling in his right arm. After an August 5 start, he required surgery to repair a blood clot in his chest and remove one of his ribs, which had caused the blood clot. The two surgeries ended his 2011 season.
Cobb was invited to spring training in 2012, but sent to minor league camp to begin the season. Cobb was called up to fill in for Jeff Niemann while Niemann was injured. On August 23, 2012, Cobb pitched his first career complete game shutout against the Oakland Athletics. He did not lose in his first seven starts, and ended the season with a 3-2 record and a 3.42 ERA in nine games started at the major league level.
On May 10, 2013, Cobb struck out four batters in a single inning. He also gave up one run in that inning after the batter stole second base, third base, and was then balked home for the first time in recorded baseball.
Cobb was struck in the head by a line drive off the bat of Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer on June 15, 2013. Cobb left the field on a stretcher, and was transported to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, Florida. It was reported that Cobb suffered a mild concussion and had a cut on his right ear, while all other scans and tests came back normal, and he would be released the next day. Cobb would miss two months, making his return on August 15. In 22 starts of 2013, Cobb finished the year 11-3 with a 2.76 ERA.
One year later, Cobb endorsed a product designed to help protect young ball players from similar injuries: the isoBLOX padded cap insert. The insert, a skull cap which fits underneath adjustable or stretch caps, is based on the same technology Major League Baseball approved for on-field use in January 2014.
"If boys and girls start wearing protective inserts, it will become second nature for them when they’re older," Cobb said. "I want to be a part of the evolution toward introducing this successfully at the big league level and I think the best way to do it is by starting at youth ages," he said. "My optimism is through the roof. The biggest thing is to further the process for technology to catch up, where we can wear it without altering mechanics or comfort—this is the best step." In 2014, Cobb went 10-9 with a 2.87 ERA in 27 starts.
To begin the 2015 season, Cobb was placed on the 15-day disabled list due to right forearm tendinitis. On May 5, 2015, it was revealed that his elbow was diagnosed with a partial tear of the UCL. Three days later, it was announced that he would undergo Tommy John surgery, therefore ending his 2015 season.
Since Cobb returned from Tommy John surgery, he completely changed the usage of his pitches. Due to the health of his arm and his rehabilitation program, Cobb is not allowed to throw his split-finger fastball, his most dominant and often used pitch. Cobb went back to using his four-seam fastball and an improved, and more commonly used, curveball. Due to the success of Cobb's first 10 starts of the 2017 season (3.82 ERA) and his impending free-agency, the Rays were reported to be shopping the starter if they were to fall out of the playoff race or if they felt they had the depth to lose Cobb. After the injury to Matt Andriese and the poor play of Blake Snell coupled with Cobb's flashes of high potential, the Rays stated that they were not actively shopping Cobb, instead planning on utilizing him as a key piece for the regular season and playoffs. After a poor May and early June, Cobb showed signs of brilliance, constantly pitching late into games, getting weak contact, and consistently keeping his pitch count down. Between June 9 and July 26, Cobb recorded 9 quality starts in 10 games, pitching 7 or more innings in 6 of those games. In that stretch, he went 5-1 and lowered his era from 4.52 to 3.46, even flirting with a no-hitter through 7 innings against the Pirates. After a strong year from Cobb, he was named the winner of Paul C. Smith champion award, which goes to the Rays player who best exemplifies the spirit of true professionalism on and off the field. Cobb ended the season 12-10 with a 3.66 ERA in a 177 innings.
Cobb throws four pitches: a four-seam fastball and sinker averaging about 93 mph, a knuckle curve in the low 80s, and a splitter in the high 80s. More than half of his pitches with 2 strikes are splitters. He tends to throw more four-seamers and splitters to right-handed hitters, but batters from both sides of the plate see a fair amount of all of his pitches.
Cobb's brother, R. J., is a United States Army captain who served in the Iraq War and earned a Purple Heart. R. J. is four years older than Alex. Their mother, a nurse practitioner, died in December 2005 as the result of two strokes.
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- William Weinbaum (January 28, 2014). "Pitchers' protective caps approved". ESPN. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
- William Weinbaum (June 9, 2014). "Alex Cobb to endorse padded insert". ESPN. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
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- "Alex Cobb Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
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- "Alex Cobb". ESPN.com. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
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- "Alex Cobb getting married!". February 2014. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
- "Difficult times have made Rays' Alex Cobb stronger". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved December 8, 2014.