SF Giants Post-Prospects Update: Ranking Dubon, Webb, and others
SF Giants Post-Prospect Prospects:
#1 RHP Logan Webb
Acquired: Draft (2014, 4th round)
Future Value: 50
Career MLB Stats: 16 G, 76 IP, 4.97 ERA, 3.82 FIP, 3.4 BB/9, 8.5 K/9
Selected and signed out of Rocklin, California, Logan Webb consistently ranked among the best pitching prospects in the San Francisco Giants system. Unfortunately, Tommy John Surgery and a controversial PED suspension slowed the development of the 2014 fourth-round pick.
Like Dubon, Webb was just shy of losing his rookie/prospect eligibility when the season ended. While his 5.22 ERA at the MLB level wasn’t pretty, his peripherals left plenty of room for excitement. His 4.12 FIP and 3.89 xFIP were both very good, especially when considering his age (he didn’t turn 23 until last December).
Webb played quarterback in high school and that above-average athleticism carries over on the mound. Originally, Webb was primarily a two-pitch, fastball-slider pitcher. However, he threw his changeup over 20 percent of the time in the bigs in 2019. When opponents connected, they generally squared up the changeup, but it also generated a strong 30.9 percent whiff-rate.
In his debut season, Webb’s slider lived up to its reputation, generating a 35.9 percent whiff-rate and limiting MLB hitters to a .158 average and identical slugging percentage. That hasn’t necessarily carried over into 2020.
In 2020, his changeup has emerged as his best pitch. This season, it’s generating an elite (34.9%) whiff rate once again and has the lowest average exit-velocity against of any of his pitches. His slider has regressed pretty substantially. It’s still playing like a 50 to 55-grade offering, but not the plus pitch it once looked like.
It looked like Webb’s changeup development would determine whether he could be a mid-rotation starter, but while it’s developed, his fastball has become his biggest problem. While Webb generates solid velocity (average of 93 mph) on the pitch, hitters have squared it up his entire MLB career.
In his MLB career, Webb has allowed 6 home runs, four were against 4-seam fastballs and the other two were against sinkers. None have been hit against his slider or changeup, which combine for half of his pitch usage.
Perhaps it isn’t necessarily the characteristics of his fastball that cause it problems (although it does rank quite low in vertical movement), but the location. Webb’s below-average control remains a problem, especially in 2-strike counts. He seems to pitch like he’s worried about throwing “too good” of a pitch on 0-2 or 1-2. Instead, his putaway pitches end up being easy takes, forcing more 2-2 and 3-2 counts that ultimately eat into his pitch count.
I first compared Webb to a young Jeff Samardzija in my rankings last season and a lot of what I talked about is still true. Shark’s erratic control limited his ability to get strikeouts or limit hard-contact and it took a move to the bullpen to get him to consistently challenge hitters. Once he did assert himself as a starter, he gave up a lot of home runs but managed to eat innings and get punchouts. Webb is further along than Samardzija at this point in his career, but his issues are quite similar.
Note: The SF Giants Recently acquired southpaw Anthony Banda qualified for this ranking, but I don’t feel like I have sufficient data and information to rank him at this time. Also, players like Austin Slater, Daniel Robertson, Rickard, and Jarlin Garica were omitted because they’ve had more than a full season worth of innings/at-bats in the bigs.