The Tampa Bay Rays may unveil another one of their stud pitching prospects on Sunday.
Thursday's doubleheader against the Twins has shortened the Rays rotation and long reliever/spot starter Andy Sonnanstine has been battling illness, leaving the team with no choice but to consider some options in the minor leagues.
Alex Cobb was to start for AAA Durham on Friday night, but was scratched from his start. This has led to speculation that he could be called up to make his Major League debut.
Rays manager Joe Maddon has been tight lipped about what the team plans to do.
"I just can't spill the beans yet," Maddon said before Friday's game.
Complicating the matter further is the pinkie injury of infielder Sean Rodriguez and the imminent return of 3B Evan Longoria from the disabled list.
I'm betting that Alex Cobb will be on the hill Sunday afternoon for the Rays, as Sonnanstine was warming in the bullpen during the seventh inning of the Rays 8-5 loss to the Angels.
Sonnanstine never entered the game, but this still may have tipped the Rays hand.
We'll have to wait and see what the Rays do, but the team will definitely be making some roster moves in the coming days.
The 23 year old right-hander Cobb was a fourth round draft pick in 2006, and has had tremendous success at every minor league stop.
At Durham so far in 2011, Cobb is 3-0 with a 2.05 ERA. He also has a tidy WHIP of 1.04 and 29 strikeouts in just 22 innings.
If called up, it may be more than just a spot start for Cobb. With rookie left-hander Jake McGee struggling and showing erratic velocity, it wouldn't be surprising to see Cobb get an extended look at the big league level in the bullpen.
Cobb, who was ranked as the Rays 16th best prospect by Baseball America, features a low 90's fastball amongst his four pitches.
He also has a plus changeup, an above-average curveball, and a decent slider.
The development of Cobb, Alex Torres, Matt Moore and Chris Archer have left the Rays with a stockpile of near ML ready starting pitching.
Depending on how the season goes, several of these pitchers may find themselves pitching in the Majors very soon.
James Shields or Jeff Niemann could be dealt to get another bat to protect Evan Longoria, leaving the Rays with several young arms to plug into the rotation.
It is a very good scenario for the Rays, who have a lot of options going forward.
I expect to see Cobb on the bump Sunday at Tropicana Field, but if not then, it shouldn't be long before he is facing big league hitters.
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