As the SF Giants series gets underway against the New York Mets, Logan Webb is making me think of another Met from a decade ago.
SF Giants: Is Logan Webb starring as.. the Dark Knight 2.0?
The SF Giants are gaining a lot of attention nationally - whether that is on the radio, on television, or online. The 107-win team was widely overlooked coming into the 2022 campaign with many people not expecting them to make even the expanded postseason. (There might be a little bias involved, however that concept seemed blasphemous at the time and seems blasphemous now).
Early on in this very-young season, the Giants-Mets four-game slugfest is a candidate for series of the year, so far. The Mets rotation is loaded (and that is with Jacob deGrom out), their offense is stupendous, and the Giants match with a loaded rotation, and a stupendous offense of their own.
As of Tuesday morning, the Mets sit in first place with a 9-4 record, 3.5 games ahead of the second-place Marlins. Meanwhile. the Giants are 8-4, which is a full game behind the Dodgers for first in the NL West. Based on how the season has started, perhaps this series is an NLCS preview?
The Mets have Max Scherzer, deGrom, Chris Bassitt, Taijuan Walker, Tylor Megill, and Carlos Carrasco filling out their rotation currently, but ironically enough, Logan Webb made me think of another Mets pitcher: Matt Harvey.
Once dubbed the Dark Knight, Harvey in New York brought electricity and excitement to the ballpark every fifth day he toed the rubber; as does Webb today. This was the same Mets rotation that had flame throwers like Noah Syndergaard and deGrom as well as the ageless Bartolo Colon.
Once I made the simple connection between the two I decided to take a deeper dive into both of their careers. I wanted to see if there was a blueprint for Webb to follow in Harvey's dominant footsteps while being able to sustain it for a longer period than Harvey's reign. (Pro tip: If you view Harvey's Baseball-Reference page, it is best to stop looking after the 2015 season)
Let's start with the bare-bones basics. Both Harvey and Webb are right-handed. Both pitchers had huge success in their first career postseason runs. Both feature a 4-seam fastball, changeup, sinker, and slider. That is where the similarities end and the differences begin.
Harvey, born in Connecticut, was selected in the first round of the 2010 draft, while Webb, born in California, was selected in the fourth round of the 2014 draft. While both have the same pitch repertoire, each had their own way of using it.
(Footnote: All of the data listed is from their best season in the Majors, with Webb, a limited sample size, of course, his data was scooped from the 2021 season where Webb threw 2,412 pitches. Harvey's data, on the other hand, was from his 2015 season in which he threw 3,156 pitches).
While both Harvey and Webb featured the same types of pitches, Webb's most used pitch was the sinker, which he threw 37.7% of the time. Harvey's most used pitch was the four-seam fastball at 39.1%.
Here is the full pitch-usage breakdown:
Webb (148 innings)
1. Sinker 37.7%
2. Slider 27.7%
3. Changeup 23.6%
4. Four-seam fastball 9.8%
Harvey (189 innings)
1. Four-seam fastball 39.1%
2. Sinker 21.8%
3. Slider 15.0%
4. Changeup 12.2%
Now, for pitch speeds. Spoiler: Harvey had more velocity on every pitch compared to Webb. His average fastball clocked in at 96.5mph as opposed to 93.2mph. Here is the full breakdown:
Fastball: Harvey 96.5mph - Webb 93.2mph. (Harvey +3.3mph)
Sinker: Harvey 96.6mph - Webb 92.8mph. (Harvey +3.8mph)
Slider: Harvey 90.1mph - Webb 82.4mph. (Harvey +8.3mph)
Changeup: Harvey 89.0mph - 86.2mph. (Harvey +2.8mph)
Harvey had an ERA+ of 140 in comparison, whereas Webb's was 133. (100 is league average). Webb had a higher K/9 (9.6) than Harvey (8.9), while Harvey had a higher WAR (4.9-3.8) and a better ERA (2.71-3.22).
The biggest gaffe of Harvey's Mets career, while he did have an overall successful postseason in 2015, was his late-game collapse in the decisive game of the World Series. Before the ninth inning, Harvey threw eight shutout innings. He lobbied intensely with then-manager Terry Collins to stay in the game, which Collins reluctantly obliged. He came back out for the ninth but did not record an out. Instead, Harvey gave up the tying runs, which eventually led to the Mets losing the World Series in the 12th inning.
Here's a look at how Harvey's career postseason stats compare to Webb's:
Harvey, 26.2 IP, 3.04 ERA, 9.1 K/9.
Webb, 14.2 IP, 0.61 ERA, 10.4 K/9.
Harvey, surprisingly, only had one postseason run, which was in 2015, so assuming Webb makes the postseason one of two more times in his career, he should easily surpass Harvey in innings.
There are a lot of differences and similarities between the two, but Giants fans should hope that Webb has more sustained success than Harvey. At the very least, he is off to a good start.