8 starts, 39.2 IP, 44 H, 14 BB, 37 K, 5 HR, 5.22 ERA, 4.12 FIP, 0.5 fWAR, 0.0 rWAR
Logan Webb may never be a good pitcher. TINSTAAPP doesn’t, after all, stand for There Is No (doubt about it, there’s absolutely) Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect.
No, it’s hard to ever guess when a pitcher will blossom. And as we saw from Webb in his debut year with the San Francisco Giants, even the exciting guys aren’t always good.
Webb wasn’t very good last year. His FIP was into the 4s, and he allowed nearly 1.5 walks and hits per inning pitched.
But he exciting. My goodness was he exciting.
If you wanted to say that Webb has shown the most electric pitches (at the Major League level) of any Giants prospect since Madison Bumgarner, I wouldn’t stop you. Tyler Beede might stop you. But I certainly won’t stop you. In fact, I’d strongly agree with you.
Webb dazzled with some truly unhittable pitches that he felt comfortable mixing and matching. There’s a reason Fangraphs gives him a future value of 55 for his fastball, slider, and changeup. He’s got the total package.
Now that package doesn’t have bubble wrap yet, and it’s tied together with a shoelace rather than packing tape, and it appears to have the wrong address is on it, but it’s certainly the total package. I mean, come on. Just look at this (but not at work):
Look at the break on those pitches! The late movement! The deception! The awkward swings from really good hitters!
That’s nice. Very nice.
Role on the 2019 Giants
Webb’s role was to make me write the paragraphs I just wrote that you just read.
The team flirted with playoff contention, and certainly tried to win games. But even so, their focus was always on the future. So when Webb made his debut in mid-August, it was less of an attempt to win now (though the pitching staff was so horrendous that it could have been), and more a chance for the organization to see what they have in the youngster.
He stayed in the rotation until the end of the year, because why not? It was an opportunity for the youngster to develop, but also an opportunity to see what he can offer for the 2020 rotation, and for the years beyond that.
Role on the 2020 Giants
It’s hard to know. Right now, all we know is this: Barring a trade, Webb will enter spring training with a chance to win a starting role. Will he win one? Who knows.
The Giants rotation has two names penciled in: Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. It seems likely that Farhan Zaidi and the new GM will add at least one, and maybe two established arms to the rotation, whether they be Madison Bumgarner, or someone less Madison Bumgarnery.
And after that, it’s an open competition between Webb, Beede, Shaun Anderson, Andrew Suarez, Dereck Rodriguez, and any other interesting pitchers the team signs or trades for.
Webb may well be the most exciting of the bunch, but if there’s only one spot available, you’d understand if Zaidi wants to give Beede that opportunity, rather than Webb, who is only 22, and has far more options. That makes sense.
If that’s the case, Webb may start the year in the bullpen, as a reliever and spot starter, or he may head to Sacramento until he’s needed.
But he’ll get his chance.
Webb gets a score of 3 out of 4 Farhans.
He ticks a lot of boxes that Zaidi loves. He’s extremely cheap, and given his age and pedigree, likely is a great trade chip if the Giants have their eyes on an acquisition. He strikes out a lot of batters, and projects as someone who could do well splitting time between the bullpen and the rotation, which is something Zaidi’s Dodgers clubs were famous for.
So what’s stopping Webb from being a full 4 Farhans? That part about still being a mediocre pitcher, that’s what.