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Tampa Bay Rays Key Players for the 2017 Season

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Mar 26, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) and right fielder Mallex Smith (0) smile as they run back to the dugout against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 26, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) and right fielder Mallex Smith (0) smile as they run back to the dugout against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Alex Cobb – Starting Pitcher

Alex Cobb made five very mediocre appearances last season, but the fact that he got on the mound was encouraging enough.

In fact, last season was not about the performance for Cobb. Yes, his 8.59 ERA and 1.773 WHiP were not exactly anything to write home about, but he did return to the Majors after missing all of the 2015 season. That first step back was easily the most important.

Typically, it takes two seasons for a pitcher to return to form from Tommy John surgery. Cobb is entering that second year, with the Rays expecting him to be that same pitcher from before. Although his performance in Spring Training was a mixed bag, with a 4.26 ERA, he also had a 1.21 WHiP while holding the opposition to a.246 batting average. Cobb also issued only five walks in his 17.1 innings, showing the command he had prior to his injury.

Slotted in as the Rays third starter, Cobb’s performance could have ramifications beyond the Rays success. If he pitches well, the Rays could have that top trio they envisioned last year. However, if the team struggles and he returns to form, Cobb could be a top trade chip. He was already the subject of several trade rumors this offseason, but the Rays refused to sell low given his return from injury.

The Tampa Bay Rays know what they are getting from the top of the rotation. If Alex Cobb can return to form, he will be a vital part of their success, either this year or in the future.

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