How did SF Giants righty Logan Webb become an ace?
Usually, in other sports, some people are able to (or try to) project certain players' paths to greatness. It's most commonly done in the NBA. For example, "player x" has to average this many points, assists, and rebounds while shooting this percentage in order to be at the same level that LeBron James (or any other high-tier player) was at at that same point in his career. This thought process is what inspired me to write this piece.
It is harder to do these types of projections for baseball players because the peaks and valleys of a Major League Baseball career are much higher than say, an NFL quarterback, or an NBA player. One year a guy could win the CY Young while amassing 20 wins and having an ERA under 2.10, but then the following year, and the years following, never have any more type of sustainable success, and essentially, in the sports world, fall off a high plateau that they never can climb again.
With all of that being said, I wanted to try and see what Logan Webb would have to do in 2022 in order to keep on the path of being an ace. Not just the ace of the Giants, but someone who is considered a sustainable ace across the entire league.
First, I had to come up with a pool of pitchers that at one point in their careers were considered to be an ace. Here's, just using my head, the eight players I came up with, trying to keep them as recent as possible: Matt Harvey, Yu Darvish, Sandy Alcantara, Johnny Cueto, Tim Hudson, Adam Wainwright, Tim Lincecum, and Madison Bumgarner.
You could always think of more, or eight different ones, but these players offer enough variety for this exercise. From these eight, I looked at all of their third year in the majors. Now, for some, that varies as well. Someone's fifth year in the majors could be considered only the third-full year (based on service etc,.)
Here is how those eight did in their third year.
For the first three, we will not consider it in our final projection for Webb, seeing how outlandish they are.
Adam Wainwright, way back in 2009, in his age-27 season, accumulated a 6.3 WAR, while going 19-8 with an ERA of 2.63. - Finishing third in the National League Cy Young voting.
Matt Harvey's third season came in 2015 -- his age-26 season -- and he had a stat line of 13-8 with an ERA of 2.71, accumulating a 4.9 WAR.
Tim Lincecum, as Giants fans know, had one of the most topsy-turvey careers ever, in this third season, at the age of 25, went 15-7 with an ERA of 2.48, configuring to a 7.4 WAR, while winning the National League Cy Young Award.