What makes Cobb 'great addition' to Giants pitching staff

Alex Cobb

The Giants, and the rest of MLB, have pressed pause during the lockout, but before that, San Francisco made a handful of strong signings to their pitching staff. 

Alex Wood and Anthony DeSclafani both are back to join Logan Webb in the rotation, and the Giants went out and signed free-agent Alex Cobb to a two-year, $20 million contract. Pitching coach Andrew Bailey joined KNBR on Wednesday and sure sounded excited to work with the veteran right-hander. 

"What Alex brings is, I just think it's another dominant strike-thrower," Bailey said. "Elite at getting groundballs, has a great pitch mix. I mean, the splitter is an elite pitch.

"And then there's some things that we can sprinkle on. ... Alex is a great addition to our staff."

Cobb, 34, went 8-3 with a 3.76 ERA last season for the Los Angeles Angels. However, he also had a 2.92 FIP, 119 ERA+ and set a new career-high with 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings. 

What Cobb excelled at last season was getting batters to chase and missing barrels. According to Baseball Savant, Cobb ranked in the 93rd percentile in chase rate and the 94th percentile in barrel percentage. His 37.6 hard-hit percentage also was a new career-best. 

Much of Cobb's success comes from his splitter. While the Giants lost a great splitter with Kevin Gausman's departure, they gained one in Cobb, who throws the pitch 36.9 percent of the time. The opposing batter had just a .308 slugging percentage against his splitter and whiffed 35.2 percent of the time. 


"Honestly, not too many people know how to teach the splitter because it's such a unique pitch," Bailey said. "I gotta be honest, I don't really know how to teach the splitter. What we can do is look at different angles that we have and look at how the ball comes out of the hand and look at some pitch movement and talk to our pitchers about it.

"We really lean on our players to take the bull by the horns a little bit and lead the way and just kind of create conversations around feel and then we blend in some of the different technology. It's such a unique pitch and there really isn't one way to do it."

RELATED: Alex Cobb explains what drew him to Giants in MLB free agency

Whenever baseball's return does happen, the Giants clearly are excited to start working with Cobb as an important part of the starting rotation.

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