Welcome to the 2022 Fantasy Baseball: Alex Cobb deep dive.
It is not a secret that the amount of home runs has noticeably diminished.
Interestingly, this is the first time K/9 decreased from the previous year since 2005. According to the site, home run and strikeout has a strong correlation. This is why pitch-to-contact type pitchers such as Paul Blackburn become serviceable this year. Because they are no longer punished by long balls.
Alex Cobb is one of the beneficiaries. Although he has allowed many runs, his peripherals suggest he is a buy-low target.
Let’s take a look at his numbers
2022 Fantasy Baseball: Alex Cobb Is Better Than You Think
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He Was Better Than You Think Last Year
I trust Farhan Zaidi as a general manager. Ever since he has taken over the job in the Bay area, all the Giant pitchers are fantasy-relevant. Alex Cobb is not an exception. He actually had a solid year in 2021, posting a 3.76 ERA in 93.1 innings with a career-high 9.5 K/9.
Ironically, after joining the Giants in 2022, he has a 5.73 ERA in 37.2 innings. In the last three games, he has allowed 15 runs in 17.1 innings. It sounds like his 2021 season was a fluke.
However, as you can see below, his Statcast numbers are all covered in red. Why is Statcast so positive about him?
Increased Velocity and GB%
The main reason is his velocity. It has increased by almost two miles. Sinker was the culprit of his struggles in 2021.
While his average velocity of sinker was 92.7 MPH in 2021, it is now 94.5 MPH in 2022.
Furthermore, his groundball rate on sinkers was 43.6% in 2021, but the rate skyrocketed to 64% in 2022.
When you compare those two zone profiles, the difference is visually noticeable.
Although he hasn't thrown more high fastballs compared to 2021, hitters are fooled by the increased effectiveness of his high fastballs.
It is also worth noting that his raw number of pitches at the heart of the zone has slightly increased this year.
High fastball and pitching at the heart of the zone could be a dangerous approach if you don't have good stuff.
We can assume he's getting more confident with his pitches.
Despite the raw pitch count difference, his sinker location looks a lot more concentrated in the zone.
Furthermore, the red zone is considerably smaller in 2022. It means his command improved by far. It's reflected in his reduced BB/9. His BB/9 is lowered down to 2.87 from 3.18.
Despite his inflated 5.73 ERA, his FIP is 2.63. It's because of .402 BABIP and 52.1% LOB%.
Interestingly, he was unlucky in 2021 as well. The difference between ERA and FIP in 2021 was 0.84. As long as he can stay healthy, his numbers would all regress to the mean going forward. .400 BABIP is certainly unsustainable, and LOB% should be up to 75%.
He has more strikeouts and fewer walks but just struggles with bad luck. It would be a matter of time before his name is on the top of transaction trends in your fantasy league.
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