He starts the 2014 season on Wednesday as the No. 2 starter for the Rays.
Cobb has ascended up the rotation very quickly considering he was the team's fifth starter at the beginning of the 2013 season. This is an impressive accomplishment, especially since the Rays have one of the most dominant rotations in baseball.
Tampa Bay's starting staff came into this season leading the AL in ERA (3.74), runs allowed (3,922) and opponents' batting average (.242) since becoming the Rays in 2008.
Becoming a leader in this rotation requires leadership and results.
Cobb has excelled in all of these areas.
When Jake Odorizzi was selected as the Rays' fifth starter, he credited Cobb with helping him develop his new change/split. For a pitcher who is less than two years removed from Triple-A to already assist in developing future starters is a huge plus.
Odorizzi said he didn't get much sleep last night, said he was grateful to Alex Cobb for teaching him new change/split.— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) March 22, 2014
On the field, Cobb has been a model for consistency and effectiveness.
Cobb finished the 2013 season with an 11-3 record with a 2.76 ERA. He pitched a career-high 143.1 innings over 22 starts including a complete game.
If an ace is defined by wins and losses, there is only one pitcher with better results since August 2012.
Since August 1, 2012, Max Scherzer owns the best record in the majors at 27-4. Who ranks 2nd? @Acobb53 at 18-4.— Dave Haller (@HallerDave) March 29, 2014
Cobb is catching the eyes of rival scouts even though he is not a household name, yet. One rival scout even went as far as comparing him to Greg Maddux.
I want to know who the rival scout is who told SI that Alex Cobb is turning into Greg Maddux.— Chad Finn (@GlobeChadFinn) March 29, 2014
While the name of the rival scout is not known, Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons believes Cobb is among the best.
Alex Cobb is "one of the best pitchers in the league," according to Jays manager John Gibbons. I concur.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) March 7, 2014
David Price is still the ace of this staff and will be as long as he is on the roster and the Rays can afford him. In the event that the Rays have to move in a new direction in the next couple of seasons, Cobb is ready and able to take over the role.
All statistics courtesy of baseball-reference unless otherwise noted.