The Giants’ Logan Webb was an often overlooked pitching prospect, and part of that may have been due to missed time as opposed to his actual skills. A 2014 fourth round draft pick, he underwent Tommy John surgery which cost him the bulk of 2016 (42.0 IP) and 2017 (28.0 IP). He was back last season, reaching Double-A, but his progress was once again slowed in 2019 after he was suspended for 80 games due to performance enhancing drugs.
These absences have helped to hide the skills, which were on full display while he was pitching for four different minor league teams:
- Strikeouts – 9.72 K/9 (courtesy of a 12.7% SwStr%)
- Control – 2.31 BB/9
- Groundballs – 64.6%
Those skills were on display once again in his first start in the Majors, as he got 7 K vs. 1 BB over 5.0 IP while also showing the groundball stuff (61.5%). It doesn’t mean that there aren’t questions facing him moving forward, but so far what’s not to like?
The biggest issue is going to be his repertoire, and whether or not he has enough to work with in order to consistently get opposing hitters out. Just look at what MLB.com said about him prior to the season:
Webb announced he was fully back when his fastball hit 98 mph at the outset of Spring Training a year ago, a prelude to sitting at 93-96 with heavy life throughout the 2018 season. He has a second plus pitch in his power breaking ball, which has slider velocity at 82-85 mph with curveball depth. His changeup isn’t as advanced, however, as it gets too firm at times and must improve so he can better handle left-handers.
Baseball America shed more light on the changeup questions prior to the season when they said that he was “still working on a third-pitch changeup, but it’s well behind his fastball and breaking ball. It often comes across too firm, not creating enough separation from his heater.”
While it was just one start Webb did show a better discrepancy in his pitches, with a fastball that averaged 93.3 mph and a changeup at 85.3 mph. He also appeared comfortable throwing the pitch, using it 19.4% of the time while left-handed hitters went 2-13 against him in his MLB debut.
Does one start answer all of the questions he’s facing in terms of his repertoire? Obviously not, though it’s promising all the same. With his control back and plenty of bullets left in the tank (he’s thrown 68.1 innings this season, so after 104.2 IP last season there’s no limitations) he would appear to be a strong option moving forward. As long as he’s in the Giants’ rotation, and it appears he’s getting an opportunity to do so, consider him a must stash option to see how things play out.
Sources – MLB.com, MILB.com, Fangraphs, Baseball America