Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Rays and Alex Cobb

Rays Index has an interesting piece on the relationship between David Price’s troubles this year and his workload last year. |Rays Index|

That brought to mind Alex Cobb’s recent trek to the disabled list. My concern is that the Rays are not paying enough attention to Cobb’s workload this year.

First I need to point out that this quote also set my teeth on edge. It is from the MLB.com item on Cobb going to DL. Buried in the article that reported Alex Cobb going on the disabled list was this comment.

Cobb did not say anything to Joe Maddon prior to -- or during -- Saturday night’s game. The Rays manager said that Cobb needs to be more up front about any problems in the future.

What struck me about Maddon’s quote was that it sounded like classic “blame the victim” kind of thinking. Alex Cobb is 23 years old and has never done anything in his adult life except play baseball. Was he supposed to go whimpering to the manager if his arm doesn’t feel quite right? Not very likely. Shouldn’t all those coaches be watching a youngster like Cobb?

That sent me off on a modest number chase. Putting off all the usual commentary about modern pitcher’s conditioning, here’s what I found: ML Stats; Minor League Stats

So far this year Mr. Cobb has pitched in 9 AAA games and 12 major league games for 119 innings. That’s as many innings as he pitched in all of 2010 in AA (he pitched 10 more innings in the AAA playoffs) and about the same number of innings as in 2009 (124). He pitched a few more in 2008 (139).

Does it make sense for him to have pitched 119 innings by August 6th of his first year in the majors?

Don’t know.

What do you think? Is there someone out there who understands all this pitch f/x stuff that can do a deeper analysis? Did the Rays break young Mr. Cobb?


  1. I have a theory that is backed up by no actual data whatsoever (which is to say that I have no idea if there is data for or against it, I just haven't looked).

    The Rays live and die by younger, cheaper players. Once once of their good, young players has been around for a few years, they can't afford them anymore (or choose not too). So, why wouldn't they push their young guys to get all they can out of a few years when they know they are going to be pitching for someone else in a few seasons?

  2. My theory is more benign. They've forgotten just how young these guys are and the coaches simply aren't earning their pay (not to mention the professional nonroster bullpen catcher who handles them every day). Especially with Cobb whom they need a couple more years out of before turning him loose.

  3. DDR makes sense up front, but this isn't historically how the Rays have treated pitchers. They were pretty careful with Shields, Price and Hellickson coming up.

    I think in Cobb's case it's more an issue of big league injuries and callups (last year).

    That said it does bear watching. The Price innings thing was well documented last year.