The San Francisco Giants are in the final two weeks of a heated pennant chase with their biggest rival, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Regardless of the winner of the National League Western Division, the Giants have ridden good pitching, timely hitting and their share of good luck to position themselves to advance deeply into the postseason.
Right-handed starting pitcher Logan Webb has offered one of the consequential performances that helped catapult San Francisco to a position of prominence.
Webb, who will turn 25 in November, has been a very pleasant surprise. He has fashioned a record of 10-3, with a sparking 2.79 ERA and an outstanding 1.096 WHIP (walks and hits yielded per inning).
Webb has struck out an average of 9.6 hitters per nine innings, while walking 2.2 hitters per nine.
Logan Webb’s Repertoire
According to baseballsavant.mlb, Webb’s repertoire includes a sinking fastball, a four-seam fastball, a slider, a cutter and a changeup. Some analysts think he throws a curveball.
Webb throws his fastball 47% of the time. He sits at 93 miles per hour. But in Webb’s case, the velocity is irrelevant.
Webb uses his slider and a changeup in roughly equal proportions. He throws his 82 miles per hour slider almost 28% of the time. His changeup averages 86 miles per hour, and he averages throwing that pitch 23% of the time.
Webb’s slider is often confused with a curveball, and it may be best described as a “slurve,” causing some confusion on which pitch is actually being thrown. The distinction between the two is minimal with Webb. He does induce a good number of swings and misses with that pitch.
Webb also uses a cutter, but he throws it on only about 1-2% of his pitches.
Webb gets excellent sink on his two-seam, “heavy” fastball. He gets the batter to hit the top of the ball and pound it into the ground. For this scout, his sinking fastball is the secret to his arsenal.
A “heavy” fastball is one that sinks late, just before it reaches the bat of the hitter. The “heavy” fastball is more about the sink on the pitch, rather than the velocity.
The “heavy” sinker is the reason Webb’s 93 miles per hour fastball average is so acceptable. He relies on the hitter making weak contact and not driving the ball to the gaps or over the fence.
Hitters have hit just nine home runs this season off Webb in 132.1 innings pitched, covering 23 starts. That’s an outstanding accomplishment, indicative of his pitch arsenal, the movement on the ball and his pitch sequencing.
Webb’s ground ball rate this season has increased from 47.5% in 2019 to the current 60.8%, which is a superb increase in the outcome that is considered to be among a pitcher’s best weapon.
Once Webb establishes both his sinker and four-seam fastball, he can rely on his changeup to put away a hitter and end an at-bat. Webb can begin an at-bat with any of his pitches and establish control over the hitter, keeping the hitter off balance and changing his eye level.
About Logan Webb
Webb was a 4th round selection of the San Francisco Giants in the 2014 First Year Player Draft out of Rocklin (California) High School. He signed for $600,000, which was above the $440,600 amount suggested by MLB for his particular draft slot.
Drafting Webb and offering him the bonus kept the right-hander from pitching in college at Cal Poly.
Webb earned his draft status by pitching to a 0.49 ERA and striking out 73 hitters in 57.2 high school innings. His fastball at the time was averaging 96 miles per hour.
Webb had Tommy John surgery in 2016 to repair his damaged ulnar collateral ligament.
He clearly seems well beyond that surgery at this point.
Webb made the Giants 40-man roster in 2018 after he dominated the Class-A California League.
On May 1, 2019, Webb was suspended for 80 games while pitching for Double-A Richmond. Webb was suspended for using an anabolic-androgenic steroid, which was a violation of baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Webb denied using the steroid and proclaimed his innocence, insisting he didn’t know how the drug got into his system. Frustrated and upset about the suspension, he did months of research and talked to people who know about the particular drug that was identified,
Webb indicated he respected the MLB system and did not disagree with the MLB policy. He said he wanted to learn how and why the drug appeared in his urine test. Now that suspension is in his rear-view mirror.
Following his suspension, at the age of 22, Webb returned to make his major league debut on August 17, 2019. He started the game and went five innings, yielding two runs on five hits. He got the win in the 11-6 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Still only 24, Webb is a terrific value at a salary of $583,000. As long as there aren’t changes to the current basic agreement between owners and players, Webb won’t reach free agency until 2026.
Big and strong, right-hander Logan Webb has provided a tremendous boost this season to the San Francisco Giants.
Webb’s performance has helped stabilize the Giants rotation in a year when the team may be destined for an exciting postseason run.
The Giants always believed in Webb’s ability to command a deep arsenal that is highlighted by a very high quality, ground ball inducing, sinking fastball.
Along with right-handers Kevin Gausman and Anthony DeSclafani, Webb is being counted upon to help lead the Giants rotation in the playoffs.
Starter Johnny Cueto is currently dealing with a strained elbow, but he is closing in on a rehab assignment. Lefty Alex Wood has just recently been activated from the pandemic protocol, making the performance of Webb, Gausman and DeSclafani even more crucial.