- Full name Alexander Miller Cobb
- Born 10/07/1987 in Boston, MA
- Profile Ht.: 6'3" / Wt.: 205 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Vero Beach
- Debut 05/01/2011
Drafted in the 4th round (109th overall) by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2006 (signed for $400,000).
View Draft ReportCobb made a name for himself as a junior in 2005 when he matched up against Wellington (Fla.) High's Tyler Herron and competed well. This spring it was his turn to climb draft boards, and he came on strong after spending the fall playing quarterback. He offers less projection and more present ability than the prototypical high school pitcher. While athletic, his frame isn't big and strong, creating questions about his durability. He doesn't pitch off his fastball, mostly because he features a well-above-average curveball. It's a power out pitch with 11-to-5 break that he throws in any count. His fastball sits between 87-91 mph, though he endured a heavy workload this spring and his fastball velocity tailed off late in the season. He also throws a split-finger fastball. His overall command is above-average. Cobb has committed to Clemson, and is considered signable in the top three rounds.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Because he doesn't have spectacular stuff, Cobb doesn't attract much attention, yet he continues to achieve solid results. He has lowered his ERA in each of his five pro seasons, ranking fourth in the Southern League (2.71) last year while topping the circuit with 9.6 strikeouts per nine innings. The Rays added him to the 40-man roster in the offseason. Cobb's fastball resides in the low 90s with some sinking action, and he pitches off it well by mixing it with his above-average changeup. His fastball command can be erratic, one reason lefthanders hit .293 off him last year (compared to righties batting .230), but he throws strikes and has a good idea of how to set up hitters. His breaking balls, a high-70s curveball and a low-80s slider, show some promise on occasion. His curveball is more effective than his slider at this point, though he'll still need to refine one or both to succeed in the majors. Following a stint in the International League playoffs and Arizona Fall League, he's ready for a full season in Triple- A. His big league future could be as a set-up man, though he'll remain a starter for the foreseeable future.
His stuff doesn't blow scouts away, but Cobb continues to make steady improvements in all phases of his game. A high school quarterback who had scholarship offers from several college programs, he has an advanced feel for pitching. His best pitch is an 11-to-5 curveball that he'll throw at any time in the count. In fact, there are occasions when Cobb uses his curve too much at the expense of his other pitches. His fastball sits in the low 90s and plays up because his breaking ball is so effective. His changeup has good sinking action and looks like a splitter at times. While he has very good control, Cobb needs to improve his fastball command and use his heater to get ahead of hitters. His climb through the system should continue in Double-A this year, and he has the ability to start in the middle of a major league rotation.
The South Atlantic League was loaded with young prospects in 2008, which led to Cobb flying under the radar. He won nine games and could have easily registered several more, receiving a loss or no decision on seven occasions while yielding one earned run or less. Cobb's best pitch is an 11-to-5 curveball that he throws at any time in the count. His fastball tops out in the low-90s and is sneaky fast with the way it jumps in on hitters at the last instant, thereby limiting the number of hard-hit balls against him. He focused on improving his changeup, which is akin to a splitter, during the 2008 campaign by throwing it more often, and the initial results were promising. He does a nice job of mixing his pitches and keeping hitters off balance. Cobb has excellent control but can be too fine in the strike zone at times. He also tends to depend on his curve too much. A solid athlete who had offers to play quarterback in college, Cobb isn't overpowering but has the pitching know-how and the stuff to become a starter in the back of a major league rotation. His next stop will be high Class A.
As a 19-year-old last season, Cobb was one of the youngest pitchers in the New York-Penn League, yet he was Hudson Valley's pitcher of the year after leading the team in starts (16), strikeouts (62) and innings (81). He drew college recruiting interest as both a pitcher and a quarterback, leading to a scholarship offer from Clemson and inquiries from some Ivy League schools, but he turned pro for $400,000 as a fourth-round pick. Cobb isn't overpowering, with a fastball that tops out at 91 mph with some sink. His best pitch is an 11-to-5 curveball that he feels comfortable throwing at any time in the count. Normally a pitcher with good command, he lost the feel for his curve at the end of last season before regaining it in instructional league. His third pitch is a decent splitter that he uses as a changeup. His intelligence, competitiveness and mound savvy are all above average. Cobb is a solid athlete but doesn't offer much projection for a young righthander. Some scouts question his strength and durability, though those haven't become been an issue yet. He'll get his first taste of full-season ball this year in low Class A.
Minor League Top Prospects
The Rays move their young pitchers methodically and Cobb was no exception. He spent a season at each of the six levels in Tampa Bay's system, lowering his ERA at every stop. Summoned for spot duty in Tampa several times early in the summer, he had his season end when a blockage in his rib cage caused a dead arm sensation and required surgery in August. He won't wow the radar gun crowd, but Cobb throws his 90-92 mph fastball with excellent command, hitting his locations consistently. He keeps hitters off balance with a plus changeup and two breaking pitches, the better of which is an average curve. He seldom uses his low-80s slider. "He reminds me of Jeremy Hellickson," Durham manager Charlie Montoyo said. "He knows how to set up hitters, in and out, up and down. He knows how to pitch."
The Rays like to develop their high school arms slowly, so Cobb didn't reach Double-A until this, his fifth pro season. He has learned his lessons well, as he finished fourth in the league in ERA (2.71) by throwing strikes and showing a knack for setting up hitters with his slightly above-average stuff. He further demonstrated that with 10 strikeouts in his Triple-A debut in the playoffs for Durham. Cobb's fastball sits in the low 90s with occasional sink. His main trouble is fastball command, because he sometimes to get too cute with locating the pitch. His most reliable pitch is his above-average changeup, while he's still refining both of his breaking balls, a high-70s curveball that's a plus pitch at times and a low-80s slider with average tilt.
Cobb wasn't the flashiest pitcher in the league, but he made an impression by getting ahead of hitters and inducing groundballs. His 88-91 mph fastball has sink and deception, and he commands his 11-to-5 curveball well enough to throw it in any count. His splitter is a decent offering that he employs as a changeup. At 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds, Cobb doesn't have a lot of projection remaining. But he does have enough stuff, combined with his feel for pitching and mound presence, to reach the major leagues as a starter. "He's not overpowering, but his pitches get on top of the hitters because he's got some life," Quatraro said. "I think his curveball was the best breaking ball in the league. He likes to be out there on the mound, and he knows he has a chance to be pretty good."