AnalysisNL West

Logan Webb Is More Than Just The Giants’ Ace

On Thursday, Major League Baseball posted a graphic to their official X account. It was a visual of their most recent pitcher power rankings.

While he did receive votes, Logan Webb didn’t appear on the list. He should have, though. Perhaps towards the top.

Webb was excellent for the San Francisco Giants last year. He finished second in National League Cy Young Award voting behind current teammate Blake Snell. The right-hander finished a major-league best 216 innings a season ago. His 33 starts were a career-high.

Webb’s durability is just part of what makes him so valuable. He doesn’t allow hitters to get the ball in the air much, meaning he doesn’t give up a ton of homers. Webb doesn’t walk a bunch of hitters, either. Overall, he does his job. He prevents opponents from scoring a lot.

Webb’s arsenal doesn’t fit the mold of most pitchers today. He hasn’t pitched on the national stage a ton during his career. He plays on the West Coast. All of those could factor into why some people may not recognize just how good he’s been.


2021-2023

Between the start of 2021 and the end of 2023, 95 starting pitchers logged 300-plus innings. One of those starters was Webb.

Among those 95 qualified starters, Webb ranked towards the top of some of the most important categories. His 555 2/3 innings was sixth in that time span. His 91 starts were 15th. Webb’s 3.08 ERA ranked 10th among those 95 qualified starters while his 3.00 FIP was fifth and 3.09 SIERA was ninth.

Altogether, Webb’s 13.1 fWAR over those three combined seasons ranked sixth. The five starters ahead of him? Zack Wheeler, former teammate Kevin Gausman, Corbin Burnes, Aaron Nola, and Gerrit Cole. Some of the starters behind him? Dylan Cease, Max Scherzer, Luis Castillo and Zac Gallen.

Webb is clearly not just San Francisco’s ace or one of baseball’s better pitchers. He’s one of the game’s best pitchers.

Over his 555 2/3 innings between 2021 and 2023, Webb held opposing lineups to a .241/.287/.353 slash line. Their OPS+ against the righty was 79. Webb stopping opponents from doing a lot of damage has to do with him executing his arsenal the way he’s supposed to.

For the most part, he uses a three-pitch mix: sinker, changeup, and slider/sweeper.

His sinker is more of a two-seam fastball. It does have vertical movement, but there’s way more horizontal movement on it.

Webb’s changeup works well off his sinker/two-seamer. It moves more like a sinker would, but comes in in the mid-80s in terms of velocity. His changeup between 2021 and 2023 was one of the best in baseball as it ranked fourth in pitch value per 100 pitches (1.55).

His slider/sweeper is a good pitch, too. Coming from his lowered, three-quarter arm slot, and moving in the opposite direction of his other two pitches, it can be hard to hit.

Webb’s pitch arsenal is built to miss barrels and induce plenty of ground balls. And that’s exactly what happens. Between 2021 and 2023, Webb’s 59.8% ground ball rate was the best in the baseball. The 6.1% barrel rate against him was the sixth-lowest among qualified starters. And his 0.65 home runs allowed per nine innings was the lowest. On top of that, his 5.2% walk rate was sixth-lowest during that period.

Webb has made just two postseason starts in his career, but they were both very good. He started Game 1 of the 2021 National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He pitched seven scoreless frames that night as the Giants won 4-0. San Francisco lost his other start in Game 5, but Webb was excellent in that one, too. He pitched 7 2/3 innings and allowed just one run. Altogether, Webb allowed one run on nine hits across 14 2/3 innings with 17 strikeouts and one walk in the 2021 postseason. Needless to say, he was dominant.

Webb’s excellence last year, and the previous three seasons combined, has continued into this season.


2024

Altogether, it’s been a great start to the 2024 campaign for the 2023 NL Cy Young Award runner-up. His second start of the year wasn’t good when he allowed five runs over 3 2/3 innings against the Dodgers. But he hasn’t allowed more than two runs in any of his other starts.

Webb has made six starts this year. Entering Thursday, his 38 2/3 innings were the most in the majors. So far, he has 26 strikeouts to just seven walks and has allowed just one home run. The right-hander has thrown seven-plus innings in each of his last four starts. Webb also tossed his second consecutive scoreless outing on Tuesday against the New York Mets, lowering his ERA on the year to 2.33 and extending his scoreless streak to 19 innings.

Webb’s success has continued because he’s doing what he always has. Entering Thursday, his 5.0% barrel rate against fell into the 69th percentile in the big leagues. He’s inducing a lot of grounders, too. Webb’s 59.7% ground ball rate fell into the 94th percentile among major league pitchers. He’s also getting hitters to chase pitches outside of the strike zone. Opponents are chasing 33.5% of Webb’s pitches outside the zone. That mark was in the 85th percentile on Thursday.

Webb has led the Giants’ rotation for a few years now. He’s expected to do it again this year and has done so to start the season. Being left off MLB’s most recent pitcher power rankings, which used stats through Tuesday when Webb dominated the Mets’ lineup, is a huge oversight. Not only because he’s been great through six starts this season, but also because he’s arguably turned into a top 5 starter in the game in recent years.


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Bailey Digh

I've been writing for Diamond Digest since July 2022. I'm also currently a contributor for Phillies Nation. You can find me on X @bailey_digh.

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