Last week I wrote about how brilliant Logan Webb had been during Spring Training. Webb had one final spring start to make, and I was worried I had publicly jinxed the San Francisco Giants young starter.
I did not.
Webb wrapped up his preseason on Monday, in the Giants Cactus League finale. It might have been Webb’s worst performance this spring, and yet it was mesmerizing (on paper, at least — the game was not televised): 6 innings, 4 hits, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts, and his lone earned run of the spring.
That closes the book on Webb’s spring, with this stat line: 17 innings, 7 hits, 2 walks, 22 strikeouts, 1 earned run, 0.53 ERA.
Sure, it’s just Spring Training, but you can peruse the last decade of Giants springs and see how rare it is for a pitcher to have that type of dominance. More importantly, it’s clear that the Giants view it as meaningful. Despite opening camp as a player who looked headed for the Minor Leagues or the bullpen, Webb has already been announced as the third starter in the rotation.
Kapler confirms what I had speculated the other day, that Logan Webb will pitch the third game at Seattle.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) March 27, 2021
Most encouraging has been the development of a new changeup, which has served as the kill pitch that Webb was sorely missing in past seasons. Through two MLB campaigns, Webb has a relatively modest 7.9 strikeouts per nine innings, and 2.2 strikeouts per walk.
Take spring stats with a three-finger pinch of your salt of choice, but even against lesser competition in meaningless games, 11.6 strikeouts per nine innings, and 11 strikeouts per walk is highly encouraging. Webb has struggled to punch out hitters — which is doubly the name of the game in this era — but he sure appears to be on the right trajectory in that department.
The regular season is, of course, what ultimately matters. But there are all kinds of reasons to be excited about Webb when he takes the mound this Saturday.
It may not work out. It often doesn’t. But after being the best pitcher all spring, there’s now reason to think that Webb might be a building block in the Giants rotation.