The San Francisco Giants have a fast-rising pitching prospect in right-hander Logan Webb.
The San Francisco Giants used to be one of the best in the business at developing pitching talent.
Championship run rotation staples Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Jonathan Sanchez were all homegrown arms, along with late-inning relievers Brian Wilson and Sergio Romo.
That well has dried up in recent years, though.
Phil Bickford was traded to Milwaukee. Kyle Crick dealt with consistent command issues before he too was traded. Tyler Beede is making some noise this season in Triple-A but has fallen off the top prospect radar after a rough 2018 season.
Who will be the next homegrown arm to make a major impact in San Francisco?
The answer might be right-hander Logan Webb.
A fourth-round pick out of high school in 2014 who was signed to an above-slot bonus of $600,000, Webb got off to a promising start in the minors before undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2016.
Finally back to full strength last year, he quietly turned in a breakout season, posting a 2.41 ERA and 1.25 WHIP with 100 strikeouts in 104.2 innings between High-A and Double-A.
That was enough for him to climb to No. 5 on the organization’s top prospect list heading into the 2019 season, according to MLB.com, who offered up the following in his prospect bio:
"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.Webb did a nice job of translating his athleticism into strikes before he got hurt, but his control hasn’t been as sharp since he returned. The Giants think his willingness to attack hitters and work ethic will help him figure it out, and he did make progress after getting to Double-A. He could wind up as a No. 3 starter or as a late-inning reliever."
A strong start to the 2019 season has his stock continuing to trend upward.
Through five starts at Double-A, he’s posted a 2.00 ERA and 1.15 WHIP with 31 strikeouts in 27 innings and a .229 opponents’ batting average.
Perhaps most importantly, he’s walked just seven batters for a 2.3 BB/9 rate, down from 4.0 BB/9 last season.
He’s also gotten stronger as the season has progressed:
- 4/4: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 5 BB, 4 K
- 4/10: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
- 4/17: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
- 4/23: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K
- 4/29: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 K
With just two walks in his last 22 innings, and a career-high 10 strikeouts on Monday, he’s positioning himself for an early promotion to Triple-A.
Depending on how the summer goes and whether guys like Madison Bumgarner and Derek Holland are traded, that could mean a late call-up to the big leagues with a chance to audition for a spot in the 2020 rotation.
He still has some developing to do, but he’s quickly become the top pitching prospect in the San Francisco farm system, and he’s one to keep an eye on going forward.