by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
While there are still a few names left on the free agent market that seemingly could make an impact, we’ve finally got clarity on the high-end names with Alex Cobb’s signing. He’ll reportedly spend the next four seasons in Baltimore, hardly an ideal landing spot for any pitcher. He does have a history of pitching there, so let’s see how he’s fared in his new home ballpark:
We would have more data had he not missed nearly two years due to injury, but the 2017 mark alone would raise a red flag. Last season there were two key numbers that create concern:
- 6.42 K/9
- 47.8% groundball rate
The groundball rate would appear to be a solid number, but the owner of a 54.0% career mark it’s a significant step backwards. He did show something late in the season, with a 57.8% mark in September, but that was his only month above 49.6%.
There was an overall key change in approach from prior to his injury, which could help to explain the change. Previously Cobb had been throwing his split-finger fastball roughly 34% of the time, but last year it was down to 14.40%. Prior to getting hurt each time an opposing hitter put a splitter in play it was a groundball more than 60% of the time, so it makes sense.
It also helps to explain his strikeout rate, as it always has been his biggest swing and miss offering. Using that less led to a 6.7% SwStr%, meaning the potential for a rebound isn’t there (barring an alteration).
Could a fresh voice in his ear lead to him going back to what he had been doing? Maybe, but that takes time and having missed all of spring training that’s a commodity he doesn’t have. Instead we have to expect things to remain the same, with Cobb showing little strikeout potential and carrying a greater risk of home runs (especially in a ballpark that’s much friendlier to opposing hitters).
The name may have appeal, but Cobb simply isn’t a pitcher to invest in for 2018.
Sources – CBS Sports, Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball
** ORDER ROTOPROFESSOR’S 2017 DRAFT GUIDE TODAY **
Order Rotoprofessor’s 2018 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide for just $7.50!! Click here for the details, but don’t miss out on the best bargain in fantasy baseball preparation.
Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Preseason Rankings:
|Starting Pitchers||1-20: 03/24/18|