Insider: Rays Breakout Player: Alex Cobb

The Rays 2013 starting rotation is far from set. Many experts believe, as do I, Alex Cobb will break camp as the fourth man up. Last season, at just 24 years old, Cobb recorded 11 wins during his 23 starts. Although the 11-9 record does not seem very exciting, you will find some very impressive numbers that suggest 2013 could be a breakout year for Cobb.

Alex Cobb hopes to build on his late-2012 success.

During the months of August through October, his numbers paint a much more impressive picture. He made 11 starts from August 1 to October 1. Seven of his 11 wins came during this stretch, often referred to as “crunch time”. He was victorious in his first five decisions. Even in defeat on September 17, against Boston, Cobb had a quality start, going six innings while giving up three earned runs.

Take away his August 18 outing against Los Angeles and look at his numbers down the stretch – 64.1 IP, 56 K, and a 2.09 ERA. Those are some exciting numbers for Rays fans to look at.

Cobb threw his first live batting practice of the spring yesterday and afterwards had this to say,

First session is just kind of like a bullpen for us. Sometimes the guys are tracking, sometimes they’re swinging…as long as you have good fastball location, which I did today, you can walk away feeling pretty good about it.

Keep a close eye on Cobb during Spring Training. I expect him to solidify his spot in the rotation very quickly. He will be called upon to pick up some of the workload lost in the James Shields trade.