Cobb’s changeup (tabbed as a splitter by FanGraphs and Baseball Savant) has a couple encouraging peripherals, in the way of a 20% swinging-strike rate, 50.9% chase rate, and a 14.8% K-BB rate. But Cobb only dealt the offspeed pitch 80 times, and opposing batters bludgeoned it for a .500 ISO and .731 slugging percentage.
Cobb dropped his curveball usage from 22% in 2018 to 17% last season, and still probably threw the breaking ball too often. A 28.6% punchout rate paired with a zero in the BB column should be encouraging, but opponents crushed the pitch for a staggering .857 ISO and .554 wOBA, ceding an average exit velocity in the triple digits. That 2019’s -.2.5 pVAL was a stark improvement from 2018’s -14.9 mark (perhaps mostly by virtue of only appearing in 12.1 innings last season) shows the depths (metaphorical, not literal) Cobb’s curve has plunged to.
Cobb’s fastball sits just above 92 mph, and just like his secondary offerings, was a mess during an abbreviated apperance for the Orioles in 2019. The pitch was responsible for giving up a .520 BAA and .648 wOBA, with an average exit velocity of 95.4 mph. Cobb’s repertoire was hit hard last season, and his heater was no exception.
While Cobb relies on his splitter most, his four-seamer has been a reliable albeit unremarkable pitch for him throughout his career. There’s been little variance in the pitch pre and post- Tommy John surgery; his career .233 BAA is a near perfect representation of the pitch year after year.
Long been Cobb’s most effective pitch, the splitter wasn’t as effective in 2018 as it was worth a -3.0 pVAL. A solid 13.8% swinging-strike rate and a very good 61.5% groundball rate highlights the potential of the pitch, but a rough 26.9% HR/FB rate ultimately was the undoing.
Cobb threw his curveball about 21.96% of the time in 2018, and it was absolutely hammered by opponents to the tune of a .369/.374/.694 slash line. A 93.5% Z-contact rate along with an elevated 36.8% HR/FB rate were the main culprits for the lack of success. All told, it was worth a rough -14.9 pVAL.