Cobb is seemingly always in the middle of a rally
Vancouver Canadians' outfielder Larry Cobb has been a sparkplug at the top of the Canadians' batting order for much of the season. The College of Charleston alum is batting .311 in his first taste of professional baseball. Chris Parry from Notes From The Nat recently caught up with the plucky outfielder.
From the moment Toddric Johnson was sent up to Kane County, 4th outfielder and 27th round 2006 Oakland draft pick Larry Cobb seized on the chance to make the Vancouver Canadians lead-off role his own. Jumping into the fray with a hot bat and a deserved reputation for great defense, Cobb quickly cemented his spot in the lineup, and hasn't looked back since, racking up a .311 batting average, an OBP of .381 (16th in the league) and 9 doubles in just 27 games - good for a tie for second in the league.
We talked to Cobb about his experiences so far, and what it feels like to be on fire early:
Chris Parry: You're running red hot right now - what's the secret to your success?
Larry Cobb: I'm feeling like I'm swinging the bat pretty good, mainly because I keep getting fastballs (laughs). They keep throwing fastballs in, so that's probably the reason I'm successful so far. I didn't expect to be this hot at this time, I thought I'd gradually get into it, but I'm really feeling good right now, and I'm keeping the ball on the ground which is great in this park.
CP: So are you feeling pretty bulletproof when you get up to the plate?
LC: Every single time. Every time.
CP: Some have trouble adapting to the 'Oakland Way' of approaching an at bat. Your thoughts?
LC: I like it. I definitely like it, I started doing it about halfway through my college season a little bit, so I had started earlier than most. It's treated me well, seeing more pitches. It's definitely helping to see more pitches, and I can hit well with two strikes, so... if you can do that, you'll be cool.
CP: What have you been working on to improve your game even further?
LC: I've been trying to work on not striking out too much, and I can't be doing that being a small guy that can run, I have to get the ball in play, so I cut that down the last couple of weeks, so I'm happy.
CP: Have your teammates figured out that you don't swing for the fences at Nat Bailey Stadium yet?
LC: I think we've mostly figured that out, but we don't have a lot of guys who will hit it out on a regular basis, so everybody pretty much tries to keep the ball down and hit consistently. I love the outfield here, personally. There's lots of room to run. There's a lot of real estate out there. You're never worried about hitting the wall chasing a flyball, that's for sure.
CP: The pitching has been key to this point in keeping the team competitive through some offensive slumping. Is there anyone who makes you really gulp when you see them smoke some opposition hitter?
LC: Everybody's pitching well. All the starters we have right now, I'm glad they're on my side. I don't care who I face really, the ball's gotta come across the plate.
CP: You've been tagged by a couple of guys I've talked to as a bit of a class clown.
CP: You and Klug.
LC: Heh, whatever they think. These guys are all clowns, so I'll take it, I'll go along with it.
CP: Had you faced any of these guys in college?
LC: I've faced some of them before - Greg Dowling, Jermaine Mitchell, the pitcher Pat Currin, and we had another guy from my college, Josh McLaughlin, but he went down to Arizona with an injury to his arm.
CP: Everyone I talk to about Rick Magnante says he's god's gift to ballplayers. Are you going to be a brave man and break the streak by telling me he's actually a tyrant?
LC: (laughs) No freakin' way! The guy knows his baseball for sure, and I like him a lot as a person. He's good to play for, that's for sure. I know everyone says that about their coaches, but man, you won't find a guy who knows more about this game than the boss right here.
CP: Were you amped to come to Oakland's system?
LC: Oh yeah! Yeah, I was totally excited to come to Oakland, I like the way they play, I like the way the organization works, and like I said, i'd been employing their approach for a while, so it's perfect for me.
CP: Who was your favorite team growing up?
LC: The Atlanta Braves.
CP: Was that because you enjoyed how they played, or because they're always on TV?
LC: That could be part of it, but I went to a couple of games when I was a child and I've just been a Braves fan my whole life, though I like Tampa Bay too being as their the hometown team.
CP: So if you're out there one day at the Coliseum leading off against the Braves...
LC: Green and gold all the way. Kill 'em.
Chris Parry is a freelance writer based in Vancouver, British Columbia. He runs the popular blog Notes from the Nat which covers the Vancouver Canadians and the Oakland A's minor league system.